The 1-mile turf contest for 2-year-old fillies followed Alms' victory in the Oct. 5 Matron Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park. She won on debut there in a Sept. 19 maiden special weight for trainer Mike Stidham.
Jockey Paco Lopez was aboard the bay filly for the first time Saturday and settled her on the rail in third, 1 1/2 lengths off pacesetter Laura's Light. A G Indy was to the outside in second as the fractions went in :22.74 and :48.08 through the first half. With running room in the stretch, Alms edged up to lead the 10 others, zipped to three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.72, and crossed the wire 2 3/4 lengths the best. The final time was 1:36.01 on good turf.
"I had a perfect trip," Lopez said. "Michael told me to get a spot behind the speed, and it worked out. She came away from there well, and we got a good spot. The course was good. I'd heard about all the rain here, but the course was very good. Not soft; just right. When I asked her, she gave me a big kick."
The win boosted Alms' earnings to $183,750.
Video: Jimmy Durante S. (G3T)
"She shipped in very well and seems to like it here," said Stidham's assistant James Bardean. "We had her sister (Hallie Belle), and we've had high hopes for her all along."
A Kentucky-bred daughter of City Zip, Alms is out of Charity Belle, an Empire Maker mare who won a group 3 in France and also produced multiple stakes winner Hallie Belle, by Medaglia d'Oro . Charity Belle's latest foal is a 2018 Street Boss filly, and the mare was bred to Justify in 2019.
Former Claimer Zuzanna Upsets Red Carpet
Lopez pulled a stakes double at Del Mar. Instead of riding the favorite to victory in the $100,702 Red Carpet Handicap (G3T), though, he piloted the longest shot on the board, Zuzanna, at 23-1.
Zuzanna, a 5-year-old daughter of Wilburn, made 31 starts before the Red Carpet, her stakes debut. The Bob Hess Jr. trainee was an $8,000 claim in September 2018 at Los Alamitos Race Course and runs for Kurt Hoover, Brian Ferguson, Jeffrey Lambert, Larry Rodriguez, and Robert Toland. The winner's share of the Red Carpet was $60,000.
"I really wasn't looking at this race. I had her on a plane next week to go to Florida for the Claiming Crown. But Kurt nudged me to go here," Hess said. "My reservation was that I've never trained an $8,000 claimer to win a grade 3. But on the other hand, we thought a mile and three eighths could work. She loves Del Mar, and she really worked well over this turf course. To me, she's an easy read; when she's ready, she's ready, and she said, 'Hey Bob, let's run.'"
Lopez gave Zuzanna a patient ride from the outside post of seven and settled the mare in sixth for the 1 3/8-mile turf trip for fillies and mares 3 and up. Second choice Lostintranzlation led the way through fractions of :24.44, :49.17, 1:14.74, and 1:39.70 through the first mile. Lostintranzlation weakened after that point, but Zuzanna was just starting to make her run. Lopez used the outside path to roll past the field with Zuzanna, and the mare was 1 1/2 lengths clear at the wire. The final time was 2:16.29 on good turf.
"Bob told me I could put her anywhere I wanted to in the race—front, back, inside, outside," Lopez said. "He said this mare would run anywhere you wanted, so I rode her with a lot of confidence. I had a bit of trouble on the turn (for home), horses inside and outside me, but I got clear and she was game."