Supplemented late at a total cost of $20,000, Pure Fun
became a Grade
I winner Saturday, rallying strongly in the final quarter of a mile to
take the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Trained by Ken McPeek for his family’s Magdalena Racing, Pure Fun, a
2-year-old daughter of Pure Prize and the Key to the Mint mare Chelsea
Green, was behind all seven of her opponents approaching the stretch.
Racing in the clear under jockey Garrett Gomez, the chestnut, who
was making her first start outside Kentucky and first over a synthetic
surface, quickly made up much ground, ultimately collaring pacesetter
Blonde Fog with about a sixteenth of a mile to go.
The one length win was the second in a row and third in eight starts
for Pure Fun, who completed the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in
1:44.65. She’s earned $343,599.
McPeek’s decision to supplement was made after Pure Fun’s 9 ¼ length
victory in an optional claimer Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs. In her only
previous appearance in a graded event before Saturday, Pure Fun, who
began her career in a $50,000 maiden claimer in June, finished seventh
in the Grade III Jessamine Oct. 11 over the turf at Keeneland.
Among those who were no match for the winner Saturday was 2-5
favorite Executiveprivilege. The double Grade I winner finished fourth –
beaten 5 ½ lengths – without a visible excuse for Hall of Fame trainer
Bob Baffert, who also saddled 5-1 second choice Blonde Fog.
In her initial collaboration with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith,
Executiveprivilege, who was making her first start in blinkers, was well
positioned inside on the backstretch, moved into second outside Blonde
Fog after six furlongs, but failed to sustain her bid.
There was plenty of thought that another Grade I victory for the
daughter of First Samurai would have greatly enhanced her case for an
Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old filly, despite her loss to
Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 2.
The first off the board finish of Executiveprivilege’s career
triggered inflated show prices. Of the $162,560 in the show pool,
$123,574 was bet on the Kentucky bred.
“Extremely disappointed,’’ said Smith. “I had a beautiful trip, but
she got her head way up and did not menace. I just hope everything is OK
with her after the race.’’
Providing Gomez with his first Starlet win, Pure Fun paid $14.40, $6
and $10.60. Blonde Fog, who was stepping into a Grade I after a 12 ½
length maiden victory in her Oct.28 debut at Santa Anita, returned $6
and $9.40. The show price on Scarlet Strike, who was nearly 20-1, was
$19. She finished two lengths behind Blonde Fog.
“She jumped away well, but I was a little bit concerned because she
was not traveling her best around the first turn,’’ said Gomez. “About
halfway down the backside, she started figuring it out and when I
wheeled her out she was really accelerating. She took off and was very
Matt Shirer, McPeek’s assistant, indicated Pure Fun will remain in
California for about a week before returning to Kentucky. He added the
primary target in 2013 is the Grade I Kentucky Oaks in May at Churchill
“She was a little further back than I thought she was going to be,’’
said Shirer. “It was the same kind of thing in (her Nov. 24 win) –
around the quarter pole she came flying.’’
Sharp Cat winner Midnight Ballet finished fifth and she was followed by Renee’s Titan, Miss Empire and Rhodium.