Birdatthewire gets up late in La Brea

Profile Picture: James Scully

December 27th, 2015

Birdatthewire closed furiously down the middle of the track to catch Hot City Girl and post a 10-1 upset in Saturday’s $301,000 La Brea (G1) at Santa Anita. Winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Forward Gal (G2) earlier this year, the Dale Romans-trained filly snapped a string of three straight unplaced finishes and benefited from a well-timed ride by Mike Smith.

Hot City Girl flashed to the front at the start of the 7-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies, establishing opening splits of :22.71 and :45.35 while up by about a length. The pacesetter continued to sail along unopposed into the stretch drive, reaching the eighth pole in 1:10.16 with a two-length lead, but began to falter in the final furlong.

Birdatthewire dropped to back of the pack from her rail post and was still last of nine runners after the opening half-mile, waiting until near the completion of the far turn to start her rally while wide. She came flying late to get the money, edging away to a half-length decision.

A daughter of the late Summer Bird, the champion 3-year-old male of 2009, Birdatthewire stopped the teletimer in 1:23.21.

Hot City Girl easily held second as the 7-2 third choice, 1 ¼ lengths better than 7-5 favorite Cavorting, who moved into a menacing position in upper stretch but lacked the needed rally. It was another 2 ¼ lengths to 3-1 second choice Ben’s Duchess in third, and Rattataptap, Finest City, Maybellene, Moyo Honey and Pleasant Tales came next under the wire.

Owned by Forum Racing IV, Birdatthewire needed four starts before breaking her maiden in her juvenile finale. She opened 2015 with a victory in the aforementioned Forward Gal and after a neck second in the Davona Dale (G2), the bay lass captured the Gulfstream Park Oaks by 1 ¼ lengths.

She received a six-month freshening after a fifth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), returning with a fifth in the November 7 Chilukki (G2) at Churchill Downs, and Birdatthewire was exiting a fourth in the Falls City H. (G2) under the Twin Spires on Thanksgiving.

With the $180,000 payday, Birdatthewire has now earned $569.090 from an 11-4-2-1 career line.

Bred in Kentucky by Lynn & Kathy Jones, Birdatthewire is out the stakes-placed Wagon Limit mare My Limit. After RNA’ing at the Keeneland January and Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sales in 2013, she sold for $23,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale.

La Brea Quotes:

MIKE SMITH: “Before the race I thought that we might have a tough time getting there in time, since she’s such a late runner and it’s seven furlongs; but during the running of the race, we were already in contention at the half mile pole!

“Dale (Romans, trainer) told me that she likes to run out when she’s making a run ‘so just let her.’ So, as long as she kept catching them, I just kept letting her run to the outside. We were way past the middle of the racetrack but she just kept running. If I try to hold her, I think it just slows her down.

“This is the only time I’ve been on her but I’m certain she’s getting better. I certainly hope I get to ride her at some point again. She’s not based here, but I’d like the opportunity.”

 IRAD ORTIZ JR., Cavorting, third: “I got a perfect trip. Can’t complain. I broke good. I got a good position and heading for home, she was doing great. She ran a good race today. She just got third. She just got beat. She did everything right. For me, she did everything perfect. She just got beat today.” 

TOM CAMP with Forum Racing IV: “I think it was the perfect combination. Mike Smith is known for liking to take his horses outside, and we got out there with some room to run. (When we came into the stretch), I thought we had a decent chance to catch Hot City Girl.”

Birdatthewire photo courtesy of Benoit Photos