After being bought back for $1.35 million at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Spiced Perfection returned to winning ways Dec. 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack for Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch, and trainer Peter Miller.
The 4-year-old Smiling Tiger filly led the $252,250 Go for Wand Handicap (G3) wire to wire for her third graded stakes victory of the year with jockey Javier Castellano.
"We thought she was the best coming in," Adam Wachtel said of the 124-pound highweight. "We were a little concerned about the distance—she hadn't run a mile in a while. We were concerned about the weight. She was spotting the other fillies an awful lot of weight. I thought Javier did a brilliant job of keeping the early fractions on the slower side so she would have plenty left in the tank. She's just a classy filly that gives her all every time."
Spiced Perfection, the 7-5 favorite, relaxed on the lead and set fractions of :24.74, :49.09, and 1:14.03 through the first three-quarters. Castellano asked the bay filly to go once the field rounded the turn, and his mount spurted away, drawing off to win by 2 1/4 lengths under a hand ride. The final time for the mile was 1:39.11 on a fast track.
Castellano, who rode Spiced Perfection to victories in the Madison Stakes (G1) and Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2), said he took advantage of a speed-lacking scenario.
"She did it very easily the first part of the race and had something left for the end," he said. "In the backstretch, I gave her a little breather. At the three-eighths pole, when everybody attacked me, I didn't open up because it would cost me at the end. I went with the breather and with the momentum, and I think it paid off today."
Miller said Spiced Perfection will return to California, with the seven-furlong Santa Monica Stakes (G2) Feb. 15 a possibility.
"She's really an amazing little filly," Miller said. "I spoke with Adam Wachtel, and we were contemplating (strategy). She's never on the lead. Do we see if someone else wants the lead? That's initially the way we were leaning. She's just the fastest horse in the race, and why mess around? She's either going to get the distance or she's not. We decided to let her take the lead and see if she would relax. Javier is a Hall of Famer and gave a great ride."
Spiced Perfection was bred by Premier Thoroughbreds out of the Pleasantly Perfect mare Perfect Feat, making her a full sister to stakes winner Cruel Intention. The California-bred was a $6,500 yearling purchase by agent John Brocklebank, a $50,000 2-year-old purchase by Dare to Dream Stables, and a private purchase by current owners after winning the 2018 La Brea Stakes (G1).
From 20 starts, Spiced Perfection has a 9-5-2 record and $1,214,405 in earnings.