Cilla became the first graded stakes winner for her sire, two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, when turning back odds-on favorite Souper Sensational in the $242,500 Prioress S. (G2) at Saratoga on Saturday.
Advancing toward the lead around the far turn with Souper Sensational on her outside, Cilla yielded a brief lead to the favorite in mid-stretch. Responding to jockey Tyler Gaffalione’s urgings, Cilla re-rallied inside that rival approaching the finish and surprised with a half-length victory as a 10-1 chance in a field of five three-year-old fillies.
An objection lodged against the winner by Souper Sensational’s rider, Ricardo Santana Jr., for stretch interference was disallowed by the stewards.
“Unfortunately, my filly was just getting a little bit tired and every time I asked her she wanted to come out a little bit,” Gaffalione said “But we never crossed that line and I was pretty confident that we were going to stay up.”
Cilla paid $23.40 after completing six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.05. Souper Sensational finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Li’l Tootsie, who was followed by Oxana and pacesetter Edie Meeny Miny Mo.
Cilla was bred in Louisiana by Brett Brinkman and P. Dale Ladner, and races in the latter’s name. Brinkman generally trains the filly, but is not licensed in New York. Charlie Baker was the trainer of record for Cilla in the Prioress.
“I don’t run any horses in New York. I may come up once a year and the girl that rubs this horse used to work for Charlie,” Brinkman said.
This was the third consecutive stakes victory for Cilla, who took the Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle at Evangeline Downs in June, and the Blue Sparkler S. at Monmouth Park most recently. In her only prior trip to New York, Cilla finished a distant third in the Frizette (G1) last October. Her record now stands at 10-5-0-2, $326,000.
The only black type winner so far for California Chrome, who now stands in Japan, Cilla was produced by the multiple stakes winner Sittin At the Bar, by Into Mischief. That mare has also reared the stakes-winning Club Car and Jack the Umpire.
Saranac S. (G3)
Public Sector overtook long-time leader Never Surprised with just over a furlong remaining and captured the $200,000 Saranac S. (G3) by a length, giving the three-year-old colt by Kingman his second stakes win of the Saratoga meet.
Victorious by the same margin the Aug. 6 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), Public Sector covered 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf in 1:41.78 under Irad Ortiz Jr. The 6-5 favorite, Public Sector paid $4.40.
“I got a perfect trip. We broke well from the one-hole and two horses had speed, so I sat off of them,” Ortiz said. “When it was time to roll, I asked my horse and he was loaded. When he switched leads, he gave me a good turn of foot.”
Following Never Surprised under the wire were Like the King, He’spuregold, Founder, and Mohs.
Brown said Public Sector’s primary target this fall will be the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar on Thanksgiving weekend.
“What we’re seeing with him and a lot of horses like him is as he matures, he should be able to stretch out a little bit,” Brown said. “He certainly looked good doing this and I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of a mile and an eighth in the Hollywood Derby. For this year, that’s as far as I’ll run him.”
Owned by Klaravich Stables and trained by Chad Brown, Public Sector also previously placed in the Pilgrim (G2) and Manila S. His record now stands at 8-4-3-0, his lone disappointing run occurring in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last fall.
Bred in Great Britain by the Kathryn Stud, Public Sector is out of Parle Moi, by Montjeu.