Shipping in from California to make her first start since running fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, Spiced Perfection wired the field to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking alertly from post 3 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard, Spiced Perfection darted away to lead the field of six through fractions of 24.74 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 49.09.
At the quarter-pole, with Saguaro Row and Our Super Nova tracking closely, Spiced Perfection was encouraged again at the top of the stretch and extended away to secure the victory by 2 ¼ lengths over a fast main track completing the one-mile distance in a final time of 1:39.11.
“She did it very easily the first part of the race and had something left for the end,” said Castellano. “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.”
Returning $4.80 for a $2 win wager, the 4-year-old daughter of Smiling Tiger improved her record to three wins from six starts this year while boosting her bankroll to $1,214,405 with the victory for owners Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Peter Deutsch.
“We thought she was the best coming in,” said co-winning owner Adam Wachtel. “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 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.”
Winning trainer Peter Miller said he was also impressed with the performance.
“We decided to let her take the lead and see if she would relax,” said Miller over the phone from California. “Javier is a Hall of Famer and gave a great ride.”
Miller said Spiced Perfection is likely to make her next start back home in California.
“For now, I think we'll enjoy this,” said Miller. “She'll come back west and a race like the Santa Monica [Grade 2, $200,000 on February 15 at Santa Anita] going seven eighths is a possibility.”
Holding on for second was Saguaro Row followed by Our Super Nova, Needs Supervision, Another Broad and Espresso Shot.
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