Photo: Hollywood Park
A cut back to her favorite distance proved the winning move
for Celtic Princess in the $150,000 Royal Heroine Mile Monday at Hollywood
Despite a less-than auspicious start from the outside post
in the field of six fillies and mares, Celtic Princess was quickly positioned
directly outside pacesetter Givine by jockey Rafael Bejarano.
In the final eighth of a mile in the Grade II, the
7-year-old Brazilian bred daughter of Public Purse and the Formal Dinner mare
Exotic Dinner asserted her superiority over the early leader, kicking away to
win by 2 ¼ lengths as the 17-10 favorite.
Trained by A.C. Avila for owner-breeder Jessica Coudelaria,
Celtic Princess won for the sixth time in 15 starts and pushed her bankroll to
$330,624. It was the first graded win in the United States for Celtic Princess,
who won two Group I races and a Group II in 2007 in her native country.
Defeated by a head by Dubawi Heights in the Grade I Gamely
at nine furlongs in her 2011 debut May 30, Celtic Princess won for the fourth
time in six starts at one mile.
Favored for the first time since she finished fifth in an
optional claimer Jan. 28, 2010 at Gulfstream
Park, Celtic Princess
paid $5.40, $3 and $2.40.
Making her first start since Feb. 13 at Santa Anita,
Harmonious finished fast to be second after trailing for seven of the eight
furlongs. It was the first defeat in four races on the Hollywood Park
turf for the Dynaformer filly, who won the Grade I American Oaks here last July
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Harmonious returned $3.40 and $2.60.
Andina, who wound up 1 ¼ lengths behind Harmonious, was up in the final strides
to gain third by a nose over Givine. The show payoff on Andina was $3.40.
Completing the order of finish were Late Cuddle and Wild
“She’s really good,’’ said Bejarano after his eighth stakes
win of the Spring/Summer meet, second behind Joel Rosario’s 11. “The last time
was the first time I rode her and she probably should have won.
“She didn’t have an excuse, but she ran really well and
showed me a big kick in the stretch. In the gate, I loaded last and then the
guy in the gate was holding her trying to keep her straight.
“But, just then, the gate opened and she chewed the bit a
little bit and threw her head. I didn’t try to fight her, I just left her
Rosario was encouraged with the return of the runner-up.
“I’m really happy with her race today,’’ he said. “The
winner is a good horse, too. She came back well and I know (trainer) John
(Shirreffs) was happy. We’re hoping she stays sound for the big races later in
Avila said Coudelaria recently paid the $25,000 nomination
fee to get Celtic Princess Breeders’ Cup eligible. He also said the mare could
return in either the $750,000 Beverly D Aug. 13 at Arlington
Park or the $250,000 John C. Mabee the
following day at Del
One race before the Royal Heroine, trainer Bob Baffert
increased his lead in the trainer standings when Glamorista, a 4-year-old
daughter of Unbridled’s Song, cruised to a 6 ¼ length victory in her debut for
Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable LLC.
The win was the 32nd for Baffert, putting him
seven clear of Mike Mitchell with eight days remaining in the Spring/Summer
meet. Additionally, the impressive win enabled Baffert to reach a significant
The victory was the 500th locally for the Hall of
Famer, enabling him to become only the eighth trainer to reach the figure at
Hollywood Park. He joined Bobby Frankel, Charlie Whittingham, Mitchell, Ron
McAnally, Richard Mandella, John Sadler and Mel Stute. Frankel leads with 952