Photo: Hollywood Park
After disappointing at even-money Nov. 18, Celestial Kitten
made amends as the 2-1 favorite Thursday, edging Whisper Louise by a head to
win the $62,400 Spearfish Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Cutting back in distance after splitting the field at 1 ¼
miles last month, the 3-year-old Kitten’s Joy filly out of the Honour and Glory
mare Heavenly Glory rallied in the center of the turf course to gain the lead
in midstretch and withstood a late surge from the runner-up.
Owned by Triple B Farms and trained by Ben Cecil, Celestial
Kitten completed the mile in 1:35.74. The victory was her second in 12 starts
and boosted her earnings to $167,651.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Celestial Kitten, who had one win
in six races in Florida and New York before arriving in Southern California
during the summer, paid $6.20, $3.40 and $2.20.
Making her first appearance at Hollywood Park since she was
unplaced in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 11, Whisper Louise paid $3.80
and $2.40. Anniversary Girl, who pressed the pace set by eventual fourth place
finisher Long Lake Krista,
returned $2.20 to show while checking in a half-length behind Whisper Louise.
True Way of Grace completed the order of finish in a field
reduced to five with the scratch of Don’tbeshy I’ll Buy.
The Spearfish was the first of two wins for Bejarano, who
also took the finale with Nicos Memory. With eight days remaining in the Autumn
meet, Bejarano and Joel Rosario are tied for the top in the rider standings.
Each has 23 victories, three more than Martin Garcia.