Trainer Jesus Mendoza took out his winning ticket to show he believed in his filly, no matter what her price was on the Los Alamitos Race Course tote Dec. 8.
The first foal out of multiple grade I winner Sassy Image—who won the Humana Distaff (gr. I) and Princess Rooney (gr. I) in 2011—Christopher Drakos' 2-year-old Resilient Humor went off at odds of 32-1 and won despite trouble in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint.
"There was no doubt in my mind, from day one, that she could run," Mendoza said with a grin, flashing his $20 across-the-board winning ticket. "She's not the perfect, correct filly, so along the way there were a little bit of issues, but we just gave her time. I knew, if she made it to the races, she was going to be a nice filly. The pedigree says it all."
Under the guidance of jockey Chantal Sutherland, the Distorted Humor filly raced in fifth and had to steady early in the turn, but rallied between horses in the stretch before she pulled away to win by 1 3/4 lengths over fellow first-time starter Dominating Woman. She stopped the clock in 1:04.04 and paid $67.40 to win.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Resilient Humor was a $105,000 purchase by Drakos out of the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Mendoza said Resilient Humor will likely race next in the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 8 at Santa Anita Park. If she wins the Santa Ynez, it would be Mendoza's first graded stakes win. The Los Alamitos-based trainer shares a barn with trainer Art Sherman and the Orange County racetrack's most famous resident, California Chrome .