Home Sweet Aspen, Jenny Craig’s 3-year-old homebred daughter of
Candy Ride, captured her first stakes victory Sunday with a sparkling
performance in Sunday’s $67,490 Louis R. Rowan Stakes for fillies and
mares at 6 ½ furlongs.
With jockey Joel Rosario gaining his third win of the afternoon,
Home Sweet Aspen took the lead at the outset, rebuffed a bid by 2-1
second choice Mildly Offensive in midstretch, and scored by 2 ¼ lengths
in a sprightly 1:15.00.
Mildly Offensive, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, raced in second
throughout, finishing two lengths ahead of third-place Madera Castana
with Hector Berrios aboard in the field of six.
For Home Sweet Aspen, it was the chestnut filly’s third win in
six starts that include three second-place finishes. Her only previous
stakes attempt resulted in a runner-up effort to Victoria’s Wildcat in
the Grade III, $118,800 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Trained by John Sadler, Home Sweet Aspen paid $4.20, $2.60 and
$2.20 for her Rowan triumph. Mildly Offensive paid $3 and $2.60 while
Madera Castana returned $4 to show. The winning purse of $40,050
elevated Home Sweet Aspen’s career earnings to $157,822.
Assistant trainer Larry Benavidez, deputizing for Sadler, talked
about the winning filly’s recent improvement. “She’s trained well since
Del Mar,” he said. “She’s put on weight; she’s just thriving right now.
I told Joel (Rosario) to lay just outside like second or third and not
to be too far off the pace. But when she made a :45-and-two (for a
half-time) lead, I said it’s over. She’s got a pretty bright future.”
“It was easy because she went to the lead, and that’s how she
likes to run,” Rosario said. “I had to keep her working coming for home.
A couple of horses started coming a little bit, but she started kicking
away. And there were some tough horses in here.”