In her first graded stakes assignment, Little Red Feather Racing's Secret Spice rallied under first-time pilot Geovanni Franco to take Saturday's Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., by 2 ¼ lengths over 1-2 favorite Marley's Freedom. Trained by Richard Baltas, the 4-year-old filly by Discreet Cat got the distance in 1:38.39.
Most recently third in a second condition allowance on Feb. 7, Secret Spice, who is out of the A.P. Indy mare Chimayo, was off at 11-1 in a field of seven older fillies and mares and paid $24.40, $6.00 and $4.20.
“I've worked her a couple times and she does everything very easy,” said Franco. “We broke beautiful and she settled nice. We were able to save ground and going to the far turn, she was targeting those two horses on the lead (Exuberance and Just a Smidge), so we swung out and she really ran great. Richie (Baltas) told me she would run big and she did.”
With the biggest win of her Thoroughbred racing career coming in her 10th start, Secret Spice now has three wins, two seconds and as many thirds. Secret Spice, who collected $240,000 for the win, now has earnings of $352,510.
“She had a month and a half off because of cellulitis and an infection in her hock,” said Baltas, who also saddled the winner of today's Grade III Santa Ana Stakes, Elysea's World. “She needed that last race. She put together some great works since then and we decided to try the Beholder Mile.
“Marley's Freedom is a great horse. It was our day and we'll take it…I told her owners if you want to win a Grade I, you are going to have to be patient…She just put it all together today.”
Marley's Freedom, next to last after the first half mile, swung five-wide turning into the stretch and was second-best on the day, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Paradise Woods. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Marley's Freedom paid $2.20 and $2.10.
Paradise Woods, who was off at 14-1 with Evin Roman up, outran Selcourt late by three quarters of a length for third money and paid $5.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.26, 48.04, 1:12.75 and 1:25.32.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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