ARCADIA , Calif. (Jan. 26, 2013)—With a fast pace to run at, the Ed Moger-conditioned Qiaona smoked the final eighth of a mile to win Saturday’s $300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies bred in California by a half-length under Garrett Gomez while getting one mile on a wet fast track in 1:37.75.
Off at 23-1, Qiaona was freshened by Moger after breaking her maiden going a mile on turf of Dec. 6 at Betfair Hollywood Park .
“I didn’t tell Garrett anything, really,” said assistant trainer Ron Glatt. “He knew she was one of those horses that would come from out of it. You never know what to expect in this mud. The race track’s been playing to speed earlier (in the day). You never know in this business. She always tries, this filly.”
Qiaona, next to last in the field of 11 going into and around the Club House turn, was still in that position going to the far turn through splits of 22.72, 46.00, 1:10.59 and 1:23.98—which were set by longshot Marks Mine.
“The race actually just kind of fell apart,” said Gomez. “My horse just kept going at the same speed and when I turned for home, I told her to go and I picked off a couple of horses. Then all of a sudden, I started to pick them off left and right, but she never really accelerated much. She just kept doing what she was doing and the horses up front…I just kind of tried to pull out whatever tricks I had up my sleeve to try and accomplish what we got done.”
Runnerup Unusual Way , with Rafael Bejarano up, put a head in front of Marks Mine in deep stretch, but was no match for the winner late, finishing one length in front of third-place finisher Marks Mine.
Off at 7-2, Unusual Way paid $5.80 and $4.40.
Trained by Steve Specht and ridden by Abel Cedillo, Marks Mine sped to the lead from the rail and was resolute on the front end.
“I was wishing the rain would have come back,” said Specht. “It’s getting heavy out there now, but she ran good. I’m not disappointed. She ran a big race. She just got run down the last sixteenth.”
Off at 12-1, Marks Mine paid $8.00 to show, while finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of 2-1 favorite Doinghardtimeagain and Joe Talamo.
“She ran big, especially because the track is so quick today,” said Talamo. “For her to make up that much ground is very impressive.”