Pure Fun rallied in the final quarter-mile to win the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet by a length Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
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Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Pure Fun ran 1-1/16 miles on Cushion Track in 1 minute, 44.65 seconds and paid $14.40 at 6-1 odds. The 2-year-old chestnut filly was supplemented late to the race for $20,000 and earned her first Grade 1 win.
It was Pure Fun’s first start outside Kentucky and her first on a synthetic surface. Trained by Ken McPeek, the filly trailed all seven of her rivals approaching the stretch. Pure Fun quickly made up ground and collared pacesetter Blonde Fog with a sixteenth of a mile to go.
”She jumped away well, but I was a little bit concerned because she was not traveling her best around the first turn,” Gomez said. ”About halfway down the backside, she started figuring it out. And when I wheeled her out, she was really accelerating. She took off and was very impressive.”
Matt Shirer, McPeek’s assistant, said Pure Fun would be pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks in May at Churchill Downs.
”She was a little further back than I thought she was going to be,” Shirer said. ”It was the same kind of thing in (her Nov. 24 win) — around the quarter pole, she came flying.”
Blonde Fog held on for second, and Scarlet Strike was another two lengths back in third.
Executiveprivilege, the 2-5 favorite trained by Bob Baffert, finished fourth, beaten 5-1/2 lengths in her first time ridden by Mike Smith. Baffert also trains Blonde Fog. It was Executiveprivilege’s first off-the-board finish, triggering inflated show prices. Of the $162,560 in the show pool, $123,574 was wagered on the Kentucky-bred.
”Extremely disappointed,” Smith said. ”I had a beautiful trip, but she got her head way up and did not menace. I just hope everything is OK with her after the race.”
Pure Fun has three wins in eight career starts and earnings of $343,599.
In the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes, Lady of Fifty overcame early trouble to win by 3-1/4 lengths under Martin Garcia.
Lady of Fifty ran 1-1/16 miles in 1:44.36 and paid $8.80 as the 3-1 third choice in the field of eight. She is co-owned by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Open Water was second, and 5-2 favorite Inglorious was another half-length back in third in her first start since July 8.
The victory, worth $110,000, increased Lady of Fifty’s career earnings to $320,000, with six wins in 11 starts.