Ridden by Tyler Baze, Evita Argentina was able to take advantage of a wicked pace duel, going five wide around the bend and finishing with a flourish to defeat Stardom Bound, who also came from off the pace to challenge for the lead fin deep stretch. The winning margin in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack test was one length in a time of 1:17.51.
Glitter City, the third-place finisher under Martin Garcia, was dropped to fourth for drifting inward on Emmy Darling after getting the lead in the stretch.
That gave Del Mar leading trainer John Sadler the winner and the third-place finisher in the Sorrento, though not in the order he would have expected. Emmy Darling was the 2-1 second choice behind Stardom Bound in a field of 10 lightly-raced fillies, while Evita Argentina was sent off at odds of 15-2.
Owned by Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds, Evita Argentina, a Kentucky-bred daughter of 2003 Pacific Classic (gr. I) winner Candy Ride out of Jealous Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat, showed quite a bit of ability in her debut at Hollywood Park June 25. Facing a good-sized field in the five-furlong maiden special weight event, she used a good turn of foot when rallying from sixth while four paths wide on the turn to score by one length at odds of 19-1.
Evita Argentina, who provided the freshman sire Candy Ride with his first stakes winner, has continued to train at Hollywood Park.
"This filly has been with Larry (assistant trainer Larry Benevidez) at Hollywood Park," O'Neill said. "We decided since it was working so well, why change it and bring her down here?
"Tyler did a great job with her. We felt she had a nice kick and would like the distance. We thought we had a good chance to be 1-2, but Emmy Darling had a lot of trouble all the way down the backside, and then got cut off in the stretch. We expected Emmy Darling to be sitting close and the other horse to be a little farther back. But Evita had the benefit of a much better trip."
In the Sorrento, Evita Argentina and Stardom Bound, ridden by Mike Smith, raced together at the back of the field as four fillies battled it on the front end through an opening quarter mile of :22.43. Cosmic Queen, under pressure from Dash Dot Dash throughout, yielded leaving the turn for home after completing a half-mile in :46.37. Glitter City and Emmy Darling took over, but tired in the final furlong as Evita Argentina got the lead and the gray Stardom Bound challenged on the inside.
Evita Argentina becomes a major contender for the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) at seven furlongs Sept. 1. The victory was worth $90,000 to push the chestnut's bankroll to $118,800 in two starts. Sadler said both of his fillies would be pointed in that direction.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Evita Argentina paid $17.20, $6.40, and $3.60, topping a $2 exacta worth $69.80 with the 9-5 choice Stardom Bound, who returned $3.80 and $2.80. The latter, a Tapit filly trained by Christopher Paasch, was also making her second start and now has two runner-up finishes. Emmy Darling, a two-length winner of Hollywood's Landaluce last time out, was $2.80 to show with David Flores aboard.
In the official order of finish, Glitter City was followed by Malusita, Dash Dot Dash, Silar Rules, Amina, Cosmic Queen, and Trifecta King, who was forced to steady hard on the inside five-sixteenths of a mile into the race. Upper Manhattan scratched.
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