California Nectar, led every step of the way while holding off heavy favorite Zazu in the final strides to win the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) by a neck at Santa Anita Jan. 15.
Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela in the Superman silks of Suarez Racing, the California-bred California Nectar registered her first graded win for trainer Doug O'Neill in this seven-furlong test of 3-year-old fillies. Pablo and Michelle Suarez's homebred daughter of Stormy Atlantic --Absolute Nectar, by Carson City, completed the distance in 1:21.34.
“She broke really well and down the backside," Valenzuela said. "I felt like Superman, because she felt like super girl; she was flying. When that filly (Zazu) came to her, my filly picked her head up and tried even harder. I don’t think she was ever going to get by us.”
Suarez Racing and O'Neill previously won the Santa Ynez in 2005 with Sharp Lisa, who was co-owned by J. Paul Reddam.