Miss Southern Miss and jockey Kent Desormeaux after winning the Surfer Girl Stakes
Last early in a field of 11 juvenile fillies, Miss Southern Miss rallied five-wide turning for home while displaying a torrid turn of foot to take Monday’s $ 100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita by 2 ½ lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Trained by his brother, Keith, Miss Southern Miss covered a mile on turf in 1:35.08.
Most recently fifth in the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3, the Kentucky-bred daughter of More Than Ready tried turf and two turns for the first time on Monday and, given the result, chances are she’ll remain on grass for the foreseeable future. Off at 9-2, she paid $ 11.60, $ 6.00 and $ 4.80.
“According to her pedigree, she’s supposed to run like this,” said Keith Desormeaux. “I tell you what, since that 2-year-old crop came in, there’s never been a doubt as to who is number one in the barn…The key was Kent today. If you watch her other races, it was a struggle for him to get her to relax…I had a lot of confidence that she’d continue her run home. And, it’s the pedigree! It’s nice to see that stuff come to fruition. She had them beat at the eighth pole…She’s going to be a really good horse on this turf.”
Breaking from post position seven, Miss Southern Miss rated beautifully and had one horse beat with three furlongs to run. Full of run, Desormeaux opted to save ground around the turn and swung out at the quarter pole.
“We have always been very, very fond of her,” said Kent Desormeaux. “She works lights out but unfortunately, when she gets behind horses on the dirt, the spray sets her off…On the grass, she just canters around there. She settled down the backside and never did take a deep breath today. She’s very talented and I guess she just needed a little grass under her feet. I hope she’s going to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade I, $ 1 million at Santa Anita Nov. 4) because I’d love to ride her there.”
Owned by Peter L. Cantrell, Miss Southern Miss improved to 5-2-2-0. With the winner’s share of $ 60,000, she increased her bankroll to $ 164,600.
Ridden for the first time by French-born sensation Florent Geroux, Happy Mesa sat a close fourth at the rail going into the far turn, saved ground, rallied and was all-out to hold off German-bred La Force for the place in her Southern California debut for trainer H. Graham Motion. The second choice at 7-2, Happy Mesa paid $ 5.40 and $ 4.60 .
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, La Force had to wait for room around the turn and rallied resolutely through the lane to finish 2 ¼ lengths clear of Con Te Partiro. Off at 20-1 in her U.S. debut, Le Force paid $ 10.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.33, 46.25 and 1:11.16.
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