In Saturday's companion feature at Del Mar, the Grade III $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, 11-1 longshot Elsa provided jockey Joe Bravo with his second straight success in the mile and one-sixteenth grass contest, sweeping to the lead from the outside for a convincing two and one-quarter length triumph. Bravo won the race a year ago aboard Daddy Is a Legend.
Second by a head was Courteous, a 25-1 outsider under Talamo, with 2-1 favored Pivottina a fast-closing third, a length and one-half in front of Velvet Queen in the field of a dozen fillies. Withdrawn was Posh Holly.
Elsa, a daughter of Animal Kingdom owned and bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, L.L.C., and trained by Michael Stidham, was making her West Coast debut after three races in the East. Her winning time over firm turf was 1:35.68. She returned $24.80, $11.20 and $7 while earning $60,000 with her second win.
Runner-up Courteous paid $22.40 and $12.20, while Pivottina returned $3.20 to show.
Quotes from connections:
JOE BRAVO (Elsa, winner) – “No sprint, no soft – just what we wanted. (The filly had finished far behind in a sprint stakes on a yielding course at Laurel in Maryland last out.) Michael (trainer Michael Stidham) said we've got to go somewhere where they've got some fast turf, so you know that had to be Southern California. She ran good and she was in the right spot at the finish.”
JOE TALAMO (Courteous, second) – “She ran really well and hung in there for me. When I got her over (from Post 11) and got her on the rail, she relaxed and was going real well. Then she hung tough. Even when the winner went by us, she dug in and tried again. Impressive performance.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Pivottina, third) – “She acted just like what she is today – a European. Coming away from there she was sleepy; I had to shake her up some to get her running. But she can run and she showed it. Once she gets used to the way we do it here, she's going to be a really good filly.”
MICHAEL STIDHAM (Elsa, winner) – “The firm track definitely made a big difference. She didn't like the soft ground (when seventh in her last start at Laurel in September). They went three-quarters in 16 (in Maryland), she broke sharp and then just started retreating backwards and that's not her. We couldn't wait to get her out here.”
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