Hronis Racing's talented Stellar Wind performed to her 1-2 odds Sunday with a dominant victory in the featured Grade III $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies.
With regular jockey Victor Espinoza back at Del Mar after being upset aboard Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes Saturday, Stellar Wind and Espinoza scored by four and one-quarter lengths in the one-mile race over Del Mar's main track.
The daughter of Curlin took command on the far turn from pacesetting longshot Ultimate Holiday and never was seriously threatened as she breezed to the wire in 1:36.43. Big Book, previously unbeaten in three starts, was runner-up, three and one-quarter lengths in advance of Rattataptap, with Roksana fourth in the field of six fillies.
Providing trainer John Sadler with his sixth victory in the Torrey Pines Stakes, Stellar Wind paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10. It was the fourth stakes success of her career, preceded by wins in the Santa Ysabel, Grade I Santa Anita Oaks and Grade II Summer Oaks. First prize of $60,000 increased the filly's earnings to $553,200. Over-all, she has won five of seven outings.
Big Book paid $3.20 and $2.40, while Rattataptap returned $2.40 to show.
Sunday's attendance was 10,777.
Quotes from the Torrey Pines:
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Stellar Wind, winner) – “She's classy; she showed that. And I changed her style a little bit today. I wanted to keep my position going into that first turn, so I moved her up with the speed. And she was comfortable there. So I said: 'OK, let's just keep doing this.' She responded well and won like we hoped she would.”
(Espinoza noted that he had gotten back from Saratoga last night at midnight: “Yesterday is yesterday,” he said about the race and American Pharoah's second-place finish. “Pharoah came out of it fine and I'm looking forward to the next chapter with him. So hard to get him there for the race; 12 hours to ship to Saratoga. He ran hard, he ran well. He's a Triple Crown winner and nobody can take that away from him.”
(Espinoza also noted that, prior to coming to the track today, he'd done dance rehearsals and practice from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with his “Dancing With the Stars” partner.)
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Big Book, second) – “No excuses. She was right where she was supposed to be – right behind the speed. She ran well, but the winner – he (Espinoza) had lots of horse to make that early run and do what he did.”
TYLER BAZE (Rattataptap, third) – “She ran her race. She always tries hard. It was a good effort.”
JOHN SADLER (Stellar Wind, winner) – “We're happy. I came with the idea of having one race down here so she'll have a big fall. We've got some big races ahead this fall, probably one prep before the Breeders' Cup. It could be the Zenyatta at Santa Anita. But this is a nice stepping off point. If we go east, we'll stay east. We'll keep a check on the older mares (with a wink toward Beholder's barn), look at the scoreboard and see what's up. She's won four graded stakes this year and is undefeated in California, so we're really happy with her.”
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