Racing without blinkers for the first time in the United States, Need You Now
, the 7-5 favorite, responded with a decisive victory in the $73,850 Le Cle Stakes Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Fifth in the Runway Stakes April 13 and fourth in the Grade III Senorita Stakes May 11 in her first two races in California, Need You Now tracked the solid pace (23.04, 46.50 and 1:10.42 for six furlongs) set by 2-1 second choice Wednesday before taking charge in the final eighth of a mile.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux for the connections – owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino and trainer Mike Mitchell – of Obviously, who won the Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile June 29, the 3-year-old daughter of Kheleyf covered the mile on turf in 1:34.76. The margin of victory was 2 ¾ lengths.
Out of the Shernazar mare Sniffle, Need You Now, who was bred in Ireland by John M. Weld, won for the third time and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60. She’s earned $75,844 in seven starts.
“She was on the bit and that was good in a way because (Wednesday) would have been out there all by herself,’’ said Mitchell. “We just didn’t want her rank and running off and with the blinkers she was kind of like that. This worked out real well.
“There are a lot of 3-year-old filly races on the grass at Del Mar, so the timing of this worked out perfect. She can run all day. In fact, I’d prefer a mile and one-eighth.’’
Redressthebalance, the longest shot in the field at 23-1, rallied for second, one length in front of 5-2 third choice Judy In Disguise, who was a nose better than Wednesday. Travesura, who was making her first start since New Year’s Day, and Lady Rosamond completed the order of finish.
Making her initial appearance since finishing 12th of 13 in the Grade I Ashland April 6 over Keeneland’s Polytrack, Redressthebalance returned $16.60 and $6.40 while the show price on Judy In Disguise was $2.80.
With four days remaining in the Spring/Summer meet, Joe Talamo holds a 50-46 lead over defending champion Rafael Bejarano in the jockey standings. Edwin Maldonado, who led the 2012 Autumn meet, is third with 43 victories after winning twice Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the trainer’s race, John Sadler has a 26-21 advantage over Mike Puype.