Just more than three weeks after their debut race, when Dream Tree held off a closing Midnight Bisou by a desperate nose at Santa Anita Park, the stage was set again during the stretch run in the $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes Nov. 18 at Del Mar.
Once again Dream Tree and jockey Drayden Van Dyke had command as the field turned for home, once again Midnight Bisou loomed loaded with closing run, and once again Dream Tree just got her nose down at the wire to win.
"It isn't that she pulls herself up. She just idles a bit in that last sixteenth," Van Dyke said. "She did it (in her debut and) she did it again today. ... But she's talented—no doubt."
After stalking leader Secret Spice early in the seven-furlong dirt test, Dream Tree moved by on the outside in the turn to take command. The 2-year-old Uncle Mo filly, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred and trained by Bob Baffert, held a three-length advantage on Midnight Bisou with a furlong to run, but the margin closed rapidly as the pair approached the wire.
"I ran out of racetrack," said Midnight Bisou's jockey, Rafael Bejarano. "If I have another jump or two, I think we win. She's just a little green. ... She's getting the experience she needs."
Dream Tree hit the wire in 1:23.69 after Secret Spice ran fractions of :22.55 and :45.93 through a half-mile.
Although she's undefeated in two starts, Dream Tree's connections would ideally like her to win one with a little less drama.
"She seems to be improving," said Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes. "We've got to work on the thrilling finishes there."
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Freeny and Pat Freeny, out of the Afleet Alex mare Afleet Maggi, Dream Tree was a $750,000 purchase by agent Kerri Radcliffe out of the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training in March. She now has $90,000 in earnings.
There was a 5 1/4-length gap between the top two and the Richard Baltas-trained Secret Spice, who held third ahead of stablemate Ms Bad Behavior. Smiling Tigress finished last in the five-horse field.