March 25, 2023

Chasing Yesterday overcomes wide trip in Starlet

Chasing Yesterday and jockey Drayden Van Dyke (left) outleg Enaya Alrabb under Mike Smith (center) and Mother Mother with Florent Geroux aboard (right) to win the Starlet (G1) on December 8, 2018 © BENOIT PHOTO

Summer Wind Equine’s homebred Chasing Yesterday so far has been known as American Pharoah’s half-sister by Tapit, but now she’s earned the title of Grade 1 winner after an admirably resolute success in Saturday’s $300,345 Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, who earlier combined with Improbable in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), Chasing Yesterday was not as flashy as her stablemate. But the 3-2 favorite wasn’t helped by a four-wide trip around both turns, in her first route, and her victory reveals her character.

Baffert’s other runner, the nearly 3-1 Mother Mother, didn’t have to summon her blazing speed to take control through fractions of :23.25, :47.07, and 1:11.17. The pacesetter shrugged off the attending Sold It, only to be confronted by 30-1 Enaya Alrabb in the stretch. Wider out, Chasing Yesterday was rolling into the scene from just off the pace, and the trio duked it out to the wire.

Chasing Yesterday willed herself to head Enaya Alrabb, with Mother Mother another neck away. The winner’s final time of 1:42.59 was some way off Improbable’s 1:41.18, despite similar splits. Yet it was sufficient to garner 10 Kentucky Oaks points, leaving Enaya Alrabb (a relative of Rachel Alexandra’s) with 4 points and Mother Mother with 2. Oxy Lady, the Tempted (G3) winner, was a non-threatening fourth (1 point). Sold It faded to fifth, and Vibrance, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) third, was a subpar last.

The Kentucky-bred Chasing Yesterday has earned $324,250 from her 5-4-0-0 line. The smart Del Mar debut winner suffered her only loss when seventh in the Spinaway (G1). Back on the Southern California circuit, she captured the Anoakia S. and Desi Arnaz S. en route to the Starlet.

Her dam, Littleprincessemma, was gaveled down to Summer Wind for $2.1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale in 2014. She was in foal to Pioneerof the Nile and thus carrying a full brother to future Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. That foal turned out to be St Patrick’s Day, now Group 3-placed for Aidan O’Brien. Other full siblings are American Cleopatra, runner-up in the 2016 Del Mar Debutante (G1), and a yearling (about to turn two) named Theprinceofthebes. Littleprincessemma has since produced a full brother to Chasing Yesterday, a weanling named Triple Tap.

Quotes from Los Alamitos

Winning jockey Drayden Van Dyke: “Those two fillies inside her (second Enaya Alrabb and third Mother Mother) both ran super, but my filly dug in and just kept coming. She really showed us she’s a half-sister to American Pharoah. Winning two Grade 1 races in the same day is amazing.’’

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Chasing Yesterday and Mother Mother: “We thought Mother Mother would be on the lead and I told (jockey Florent Geroux) just try to nurse her along. (Chasing Yesterday) was so wide. Turning for home, I really thought Mother Mother was going to kick on and keep going. It was a really thrilling finish. I didn’t (think Chasing Yesterday) was going to get there because she had been so wide.

“She’s a nice filly, but (Van Dyke) really sat patient. He loves this filly and he had a lot of confidence in her. This kid is like (Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick) Mahomes. He’s smart and has a lot of natural talent. Pretty nice to get a Grade 1 win with American Pharoah’s (half) sister.’’