Coast To Coast Saturday Recap

Quantum Miss holds for Cicada victory

Daniel M. Ryan's homebred QUANTUM MISS (Smoke Glacken) set nearly all the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Cicada S. (G3) at Aqueduct and had just enough left to hold the late run of Coax Liberty (Successful Appeal) to score by a half-length on the wire. With jockey Cornelio Velasquez aboard, the gray lass finished up six furlongs on the fast inner track in 1:11 4/5.

The winner broke on top in the Cicada but quickly had company in the form of Roman Treasure (Roman Ruler). That one was credited with the first quarter in :22 2/5, but Quantum Miss fought back on the outside to take command through splits of :26 and :58 2/5. Roman Treasure faded in the stretch, but Quantum Miss found a new challenger coming hard. Coax Liberty had broken last in the seven-filly field, but settled into a good spot in midpack on the backstretch. She put in a ferocious rally in the lane, but Quantum Miss had held enough in reserve to grab the victory.

'She went a little fast the first part of the race,' Velasquez commented. 'I tried to relax her, but she fought it too much. I had enough horse at the end.'

Quantum Miss was the 9-5 favorite in the Cicada and paid $5.80, $3.60 and $2.60 for the win. Coax Liberty got the best of Dream (Malibu Moon) by 2 3/4 lengths, with Roman Treasure finishing another half-length back in fourth. Maiden winner In Step (Unbridled's Song), Wild About Sonny (Officer) and Grade 3 scorer Full Moon Blues (Petionville) completed the order under the wire.

'I was very impressed,' trainer Tony Dutrow said over the phone. 'She broke right on top, took the worst of it along the backstretch, and held off what looked like a very good field. Her performance kind of confirms what we thought all long: she's a six-furlong filly.

'We're thinking about eventually running her in the (July 4) Prioress ([G1] going six furlongs at Belmont Park), with something else in between.'

Quantum Miss raced three times as a juvenile, finishing third at Parx Racing in September before breaking her maiden on October 29 back at that venue by 5 1/2 lengths. She rounded out her two-year-old campaign by taking her stakes bow in the Blue Mountain S. at Penn National. The gray miss was shipped south to make her sophomore debut in the January 5 Old Hat S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park, but stumbled and was bumped at the start of that contest, winding up fifth. Given the past couple of months off, she returned ready to run in the Cicada and now boasts a 5-3-0-1, $150,750, record.

The Pennsylvania-bred filly is out of multiple stakes-placed Quanah County (Valid Expectations), who has since produced an unnamed juvenile filly by Stevie Wonderboy and an unnamed yearling filly by Yes It's True). Quanah County is herself a half-sister to stakes-placed Lampsas County (Manzotti), and this is the same family as 1990 Ohio Derby (G2) hero Private School (Bates Motel).

Malibu Pier comes roaring back in Santa Ana

After executing a tactical retreat on the far turn, Spendthrift Farm's homebred MALIBU PIER (Malibu Moon) rallied boldly in the stretch to earn her first stakes victory in Saturday's $150,000 Santa Ana S. (G2) at Santa Anita. Under Rafael Bejarano, the Carla Gaines trainee swept past longtime pace rival Lilly Fa Pootz (Gilded Time) and safely held 9-5 favorite Turning Top (Ire) (Pivotal) at bay by a length. Malibu Pier, the 2-1 second choice off her third in the February 21 Buena Vista H. (G2), returned $6, $3 and $2.40.

Malibu Pier broke on top from the rail, but was soon joined by Lilly Fa Pootz. The two sprinted away from the rest of the field as they vied through fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 2/5. On the far turn, the complexion of the race changed. First Lilly Fa Pootz pulled away from Malibu Pier while reaching the six-furlong mark in 1:10 2/5, then Turning Top, who had been settled in third, bobbled and slipped on the rain-slick turf. As it turned out, Malibu Pier and Turning Top were far from finished.

Malibu Pier was still traveling comfortably for Bejarano, who had just decided to back out of the duel at that point. Coming around Lilly Fa Pootz turning into the lane, Malibu Pier collared her in midstretch and drove to the front. Meanwhile, Turning Top got back into stride, and emerged as the biggest threat inside the final furlong. Malibu Pier was not about to relinquish the advantage, though, and kept finding more to complete 1 1/8 miles on the good ground in 1:48.

'I was on an easy lead the first turn and I had a lot of horse,' Bejarano said. 'I knew number 8 (Lilly Fa Pootz) was going to try and go to the lead. I tried to make sure my horse was relaxed. At the half-mile pole I decided to let her relax. I gave her a little breather before I came to the turn and then let her go. When I came to the top of the stretch I let her shoot to the lead, and she showed me a big kick. She was really good today.'

'She was feeling good in the paddock, but I wasn't worried,' Gaines said of Malibu Pier's being on the muscle beforehand. 'She just had her game face on. She was going so easy (when passed by Lilly Fa Pootz). He (Bejarano) was just giving her a breather. Basically, I just told him to let her break and find her place in the race, assuming we would be up fairly close. We knew that probably Hollendorfer's filly (Lilly Fa Pootz) was going to go.'

After a 1 1/4-length gap came the remaining four finishers, all necks apart. Lilly Fa Pootz just outfinished herJerry Hollendorfer-trained stablemate Washington Bridge (Yankee Gentleman) for third, with Eclair de Lune (Ger) (Marchand de Sable) and It Tiz (Tiznow) rounding out the order under the wire. Blue Maiden (GB) (Medicean) and Church Camp (Forest Camp) were scratched.

Malibu Pier now sports a mark of 8-4-1-1, $252,200. The chestnut began her career on turf, winning her first two outings as a sophomore last summer, and wound up fourth in her stakes debut in the Harold C. Ramser Sr. H. (G3). Malibu Pier tried the main track in her next pair, and proved herself a multi-surface performer. She romped by 4 3/4 lengths in an off-the-turf allowance optional claimer over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, and closed for runner-up honors in the La Brea S. (G1) on Santa Anita's dirt. Malibu Pier threw in her only poor race when trailing in the El Encino S. (G2), but regrouped with her third in the Buena Vista.

'She's very versatile,' Gaines said. 'We have a lot of options, but we're just going to enjoy this for now.'

The Kentucky-bred was produced by Grade 2 queen Blue Moon (Fr) (Lomitas [GB]), the winner of the 2002 Buena Vista and runner-up in the 2000 Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup (G1). Her latest foals are a juvenile filly named Greer's Secret (Mr. Greeley) and an unnamed yearling filly by Malibu Moon, a full sister to Malibu Pier. This is the family of Grade 1 heroine Passing Shot (A.P. Indy) and Spanish Horse of the Year Bannaby (Dyhim Diamond [Ire]).



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