Trick or Treat International’s Here to Win, trained by Kiaran
McLaughlin and ridden perfectly by jockey Joe Bravo, held off the
multiple-stakes winner Keertana down the stretch to win the $100,000 The
Very One (G3) by a length. Woodford Belle was third while Breeders’ Cup
Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Perfect Shirl checked in eighth.
Here to Win, an $11.20-1 shot, covered 1 3/8-mile on a firm turf course in 2:13.22.
Here to Win, a 6-year-old mare who raced in South Africa and Dubai
before being sent to the U.S. and McLaughlin last year, finished a
well-beaten eighth in her U.S. debut over a yielding course in October
at Laurel and then finished a troubled third Jan. 13 at Gulfstream.
Here to Win was rated by Bravo well back early while Good Karma set the
pace with fractions of :24.44, :48.38 and 1:14.03. Approaching the
final turn, Bravo moved Here to Win into contention before driving the
Brazilian-bred mare along the hedge and holding off Keertana.
“I was really confident going into this race with this filly,” Bravo
said. “I rode her twice before. It’s a shame the filly don’t handle the
soft turf because she would have won the first time I rode her. She was
the best horse. Today I was very confident after being able to sit on
her a couple times. I knew there were some really good horses in the
race but I knew she would be giving that kick.”
Said McLaughlin; “It’s a pleasant surprise for her to beat a field like
this, but she was a Grade 1 winner in South Africa and we knew she had
some quality. Her first race over here was on a yielding course at
Laurel that she just didn’t handle. But her second race here in the
allowance race was good. Joe (Bravo) gave her a great ride today…never
left the fence. Last time she was 10-wide. It’s a shame the owners
weren’t here to enjoy this. They’re from Norway and came for her first
two races. If everything is okay we’ll probably bring her back in the
Orchid (Mar. 31).”
Perfect Shirl, making her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup
Filly & Mare Turf, finished eighth under jockey John Velazquez.
“She just got tired,” said trainer Roger Attfield. “She probably
needed the race, which is what I thought was going on. She’s had a bit
of a disruptive winter, but she should move forward off this race.”