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FILLY EVITA ARGENTINA TOPPLES BOYS IN SAN VICENTE
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Don't cry for this lady.
Evita Argentina became the first filly in 62 years to win the Gr. II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes, beating the boys by one length Monday at Santa Anita.
Sent off as the 2-1 wagering favorite in the field of 10, Evita Argentina and jockey Garrett Gomez came flying down the middle of the track to hold off Leedstheway.
Evita Argentina ran 7 furlongs in 1:24.30, becoming just the third filly in the race's 68-year history to win the Kentucky Derby prep for 3-year-olds.
With several speed horses in the field, the Kentucky-bred filly had ample pace to set up her usual come-from-behind move. Evita Argentina, who was last in the early going and then went four horses wide in the stretch, paid $6.60, $3.80 and $2.80.
"The track is soggy all over, but at the three-eighths pole, it seemed a little deeper and she got off the bridle with me, so I really had to work on her to get her to running again," Gomez said. "She was able to wear them down, but I know she can run even better than that."
Gato Go Win was another 1¼ lengths back in third and returned $3.80. He and Leedstheway, who paid $6.40 and $5, are both trained by Jeff Mullins.
Trainer Bob Baffert's duo of Ventana and Wall Street Wonder, making his stakes debut, finished in a dead-heat for fourth.
Winning trainer John Sadler wasn't feeling well and stayed home, leaving assistant Larry Benavidez to saddle Evita Argentina, who earned her third career stakes win. She was coming off a second-place finish to stablemate Alpha Kitten in the Santa Ynez Stakes a month ago.
"I was pretty confident because this filly is going to give you her run no matter what," Benavidez said. "Garrett cut the corner perfect. It was a great ride by him."
He said the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 14 in New Orleans might be next for the filly.
The race went off under sunny skies during a temporary break in the rainy weather. Minutes after the winner's circle ceremony, heavy showers pelted the track but didn't noticeably affect its synthetic surface the way rain would have turned a dirt surface into a quagmire.
Hubble Bubble was the last filly to win the race in 1947, doing so by disqualification. Her victory came two years after Busher, who was named Horse of the Year as a 3-year-old, became the first filly to do so. Busher was owned by movie producer Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.
Gallant Son was fifth, followed by Smokey Lonesome, Cut the Check, Congor Bay and Point Attended.
In the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares, Jibboom held off Foxysox to win by 2½ lengths and give Gomez a sweep of the day's stakes races.
The Associated Press