Their third meeting in the 1 1/8-mile grass test ended the same way their first two did, with Sircat Sally still undefeated and Beau Recall a hard-fought runner up.
But this time the margin was diminishing as the pair neared the wire. In the China Doll Stakes March 11, the margin was 1 1/4 lengths, and in the May 6 Senorita Stakes (G3T) it was 1 1/2, but Saturday Beau Recall had dead aim on the 1-5 favorite.
Sircat Sally dug in, though, and prevailed to win by a neck under jockey Mike Smith. Joe Turner's California-bred Surf Cat filly, now unbeaten in seven starts, finished off the distance in 1:46.92. Watch Video
"My filly locked onto Beau Recall, so I felt confident that I could hold them off for another hundred yards, but after that I wasn't so sure, so luckily the wire came," Smith said.
The undefeated Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly got the jump on the field, as she inherited the lead from run-off longshot Tap It All turning for home. Pacific Wind made a simultaneous move with Sircat Sally entering the final turn, but stopped abruptly behind Tap It All as the frontrunner slowed. Pacific Wind was able to re-rally for third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the top two.
"That's the advantage of having speed, or tactical speed," Hollendorfer said. "You can be either out in front or you can lay back a little bit. I thought Mike rode her beautifully. We got the win and that's what we wanted. It's not supposed to be easy for a grade 2."
Tap It All had a four length lead through the first half-mile in :47.31, as Sircat Sally headed the second flight, but her advantage was only a half-length through six furlongs in 1:11.29. Sircat Sally held a one-length lead with a furlong to run, as Beau Recall loomed, but the challenger could not get past.
"Turning for home I really thought I was going to win," said Beau Recall's jockey, Joe Talamo. "I had a ton of horse. Hat's off to the winner. She really dug in pretty hard that last part. My filly is so nice and tries so hard every time."
"The filly that ran second—I take my hat off to her, because she made a run today," Smith added. "But the good ones—they just find a way to win."
Zaffinah made mild gains from last in the six-filly field to finish fourth, followed by La Force and Tap It All, to complete the order of finish.
Sircat Sally, a Turner homebred, how has six stakes wins (three graded) and earnings of $528,860.
"It's hard to explain. It's never happened to us before," said Turner, who indicated a run in the San Clemente (G2T) July 23 at Del Mar could come before a try in the Aug. 19 Del Mar Oaks (G1T).