Stealing the lead at the start, Gary and Mary West's Fighting Mad maintained her front-running presence throughout Saturday's Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar. The 3-year-old daughter of New Year's Day kicked well clear of her rivals in the stretch, cruising under the wire to win by at least six lengths as the 2-1 post-time favorite. Ridden by Joe Talamo for trainer Bob Baffert, Fighting Mad completed the mile over the fast main track in 1:38.61.
There was a three-way tussle for the lead in the early stages of the Torrey Pines, but Talamo and the speedy Fighting Mad were determined to hit the front. She out-footed Sneaking Out and Kim K to a two-length lead down the backstretch, setting fractions of :23.29 and :46.98.
Into Chocolate tried to pressure the leader a bit down the backstretch, but through the far turn Fighting Mad kept her ears pinned and impatiently waited for Talamo to turn her loose. As soon as he gave the filly her cue, Fighting Mad kicked away with ease to leave the field well behind her. Hollywood Hills closed from the rear of the field to finish a distant second, while Into Chocolate held third over Kim K.
Bred in Kentucky by her owners, Fighting Mad is out of the winning Forestry mare Smokey's Love. The Torrey Pines is just her fifth career start, and follows a runner-up performance in an allowance race four weeks ago at Del Mar. The filly owns three wins from five starts for earnings of $160,000.
JOE TALAMO (Fighting Mad, winner) – “The plan was to go for it (the lead). She was running easy out there. She ran great.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX (Hollywood Hills, second) – “It was a good race for my horse. The winner was just too far gone.”
MIKE SMITH (Into Chocolate, third) – “Her race was good – all good. She was good in the gate and she ran good. I thought I might have it. But not today.”
BOB BAFFERT (Fighting Mad, winner) – “We were hoping she could get a mile. I've been taking my time with her, but the way she's been working and the way she's showed she loved this track, we were hoping it would turn out the way it did.”
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