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Free Flying Soul Takes Desert Stormer

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park
Free Flying Soul, exiting a Grade 1 in Kentucky, was successful in her California return, winning the $62,500 Desert Stormer Handicap.

Under jockey Mike Smith, the 5-year-old Quiet American mare and the Farma Way mare Ruby Surprise earned her second victory in five tries on Cushion Track.

Owned by Marsha Naify and trained by Bruce Headley, the 3-2 favorite engaged for the lead outside Moon de French, took the advantage early in the stretch and held Alpha Kitten, who was last for most of the trip, safe. In winning by 1 ½ lengths over the 5-2 second choice, Free Flying Soul ran the six furlongs in 1:09.10.

Fourth, defeated by 1 ¾ lengths in the Humana Distaff over a sloppy track on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 1 at Churchill Downs, Free Flying Soul now has six wins in 15 races. She increased her earnings to $393,177.

“She’s some sprinter, she really is,’’ said Smith after his fifth stakes win of the meet, two fewer than leader Bejarano. “She’s so professional, she just goes out and does it every time. Even when she doesn’t win, she’s right there.’’

The win was the second in a row for Smith in the Desert Stormer and third in the last six years.

The Hall of Fame rider’s other victories came with Coco Belle (2009) and Puxa Saco (2005).

Free Flying Soul returned $5, $2.80 and $2.20. Alpha Kitten paid $3.40 and $2.80. Fund Raiser, a 13-1 shot, was a nose back in third. Her show price was $6.20.


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