Making her first start of 2013, Marketing Mix
gave Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens
his first win at Betfair Hollywood Park in nearly eight years with a thrilling victory in the $250,500 Gamely Stakes Monday.
Idle since finishing second behind Zagora in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last Nov. 2, Marketing Mix defeated Tiz Flirtatious by a head after a stretch long duel to win the first Grade I race of the Spring/Summer meet.
Trained by Tom Proctor for Glen Hill Farm, Marketing Mix, a 5-year-old, Canadian-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and the Kris S. mare Instant Thought, won for the ninth time in 17 starts. Her second Grade I success – she won the Rodeo Drive last Sept. 29 at Santa Anita - increased her earnings to $1,809,518.
The 3-2 favorite returned $5, $3.20 and $2.20 while completing the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.24.
Positioned off the pace set by longshot Miss Ellany, Marketing Mix was kept in the clear after breaking from the outside in the field of seven, began to rally while inside Tiz Flirtatious around the turn and those two were a virtual team to the wire.
Nine days removed from his 15-1 surprise aboard Oxbow in the Preakness Stakes, Stevens collected his first victory at Hollywood Park since he teamed with the California bred Alphabet Kisses to win the Grade II A Gleam Invitational Handicap July 9, 2005. It was the first Grade I victory locally for Stevens, 50, since he captured the Hollywood Turf Cup with 10-1 shot Pellegrino Dec. 4, 2004.
“I was fortunate to work her three-quarters of a mile at Keeneland (April 18) and she was super strong,’’ said Stevens. “Both (Julien Leparoux aboard Tiz Flirtatious) and I were both trying to make the winning move coming into the stretch.
“About the sixteenth pole we were getting them cranked up and his mare actually had a little better turn of foot than mine did, but we managed to get up in time. Two good performances by two very good mares.’’
The win was the fourth in the Gamely for Stevens, but his first since Donna Viola in 1997.
“She’s a good mare,’’ said Proctor. “She makes me look good, that’s how good she is. That’s hard to do.
“You never know how fit they are until they run. If they aren’t, they get beat, if they are, they don’t. She’s always run well off a layoff.’’
Tiz Flirtatious, who had the lead briefly with about a furlong to run, paid $3.20 and $2.20 as the 2-1 second choice. She finished 4 ¼ lengths clear of 2-1 third choice Lady of Shamrock. The show price on Lady of Shamrock, the 2012 American Oaks winner, was $2.40.
Halo Dolly finished a nose back in fourth. My Gi Gi, Miss Ellany and Private Affair completed the order of finish.
Corey Nakatani replaced Garrett Gomez on Halo Dolly. Gomez was off his mounts again Monday still feeling some soreness after being involved in a spill in the first race May 24.
“She had a chance to get by that mare and (Marketing Mix) just wouldn’t let her by,’’ said Marty Jones, trainer of the runner-up. “She ran her heart out. Those are two super nice mares. Just another jump and we would have gotten to her, but that’s horse racing.’’