Dressed in Hermes, Stays in Vegas score on Santa Anita turf
Dressed in Hermes entered Saturday's $101,250 Zuma Beach at Santa Anita a maiden, but walked away a graduate after taking the one-mile grass test for two-year-olds by a half-length.
The gelded son of Hat Trick found himself farther back than jockey Gary Stevens wanted when steadied briefly in the early stages. Forced to rally three- and four-wide around the far turn and entering the stretch, Dressed in Hermes eventually wore down the dueling pair of I'malreadythere and Bully Pulpit to win in a time of 1:35.76 on firm ground.
Dressed for Hermes finished fourth to eventual Saratoga Special (G2) winner and Breeders' Futurity (G1) runner-up Exaggerator in his debut, and then ran third to eventual Del Mar Juvenile Turf winner and FrontRunner (G1) third Hollywood Don last time in his turf debut. Both races were at Del Mar. Trainer Janet Armstrong removed the blinkers on Dressed for Hermes for the Zuma Beach, for which he was made the 8-5 favorite.
"Janet took the blinkers off of him today and it worked out good but he wasn't really paying attention in the gate," Stevens said. "I didn't want to be as far back as I was, I lost position but it wound up a great education for him and he handled things very professionally after the first turn. We gave up some ground going into the stretch but it was a good effort today."
A homebred racing for Syd Belzberg's Budget Stable, Dressed in Hermes could have the $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar on November 29 as a fall goal.
Run in slightly faster time of 1:35.23 was the filly counterpart, the $101,500 Surfer Girl, won by 7-1 chance Stays in Vegas.
Saving ground throughout under Alex Solis, the daughter of City Zip moved outside to challenge long-time leader Lucky Folie in the stretch and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Lucky Folie drifted into the rail-skimming Mirage very late, causing the latter to lose any chance at second. Lucky Folie was demoted from second and placed third behind Mirage.
Stays in Vegas is now a three-time stakes winner. She captured her first two starts, the $58,000 Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Pleasanton and the $56,000 Wine Country at Santa Rosa, and was most recently a distant fifth in the Del Mar Debutante (G1). The Surfer Girl was the filly's first attempt on grass.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Stays in Vegas is owned by a partnership that includes the Jungle Racing group headed by sportscaster Jim Rome.