Breaking from post position eight in a 12-horse field, longshot
was sent to the lead by Edwin Maldonado and was never
seriously challenged, taking Saturday’s $70,000 China Doll Stakes by 1 ½
lengths while negotiating one mile on a turf course listed as “good” in
Run as Saturday’s eighth race, the China Doll immediately
followed the day’s main event, the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes.
“Well, we were hoping to get an easy lead (with highly regarded
Goldencents) in the seventh race, but it didn’t happen,” said winning
trainer Doug O’Neill. “This is a nice filly…and it was a wide-open
race. Edwin was able to kind of ‘walk the dog’ out there through easy
fractions, and he had enough left to kick on.”
Off at 10-1, English-bred Birdlover carved out splits of 23.09, 47.75, 1:11.76 and 1:23.47.
Owned by Robert Cseplo, Steve Keh, Daniel Kramer and W.C.
Racing, she paid $22.80, $11.20 and $7.60. A maiden stakes winner in
England on Oct. 18, Birdlover was a close fourth in her U.S. debut, the
Grade III, one mile turf Miesque Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on
Second in two subsequent allowance races, Birdlover notched her
second career win in the China Doll to go along with three seconds from
seven starts. With the winner’s share of $44,160, she more than doubled
her earnings to $84,781.
“Doug told me to go to the lead and if somebody wants to go out
there like a rabbit, let them have the lead,” said Maldonado. “Nobody
fought me. It was a perfect race.”
Magnificent Shirl, off at 8-1 with Tyler Baze, broke from the
rail, saved ground early and swung out turning for home to finish
second, a half length in front of 99-1 shot Akiss Forarose and Orlando
Magnificent Shirl paid $11.00 and $7.20.
Akiss Forarose rallied from far off the pace to finish a half
length in front of Flashy Ways and Joe Talamo. Akiss Forarose paid
$21.20 to show.
Sarach, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was never a factor and finished fifth.