A layoff of some 6 ½ months proved no issue for All Star Heart in the
$72,800 Redondo Beach Stakes Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Making her first appearance since winning the Grade II Las Palmas
Stakes last Nov. 6, the Canadian bred rallied strongly in the final
furlong to defeat Hard to Resist and six others.
Owned by breeder Gerald Gibbs and trained by Hall of Famer Ron
McAnally, the 5-year-old daughter of Arch and the Ascot Knight mare Gift
of the Heart completed the mile on turf in 1:35.45. Her victory margin
was a half-length.
Enabling Brice Blanc to become the first jockey to win the Redondo
Beach twice – he also won with Turning Top in 2010 – All Star Heart paid
$8.60, $5.60 and $3.60 as the 3-1 second choice.
Fresh off a win in an optional claimer May 3, Hard to Resist saved
ground to gain the lead in the stretch from pacesetters Broken Dreams
and Briecat, but couldn’t contain the winner. Hard to Resist returned
$8.40 and $4.80.
Briecat, who was seeking her third win over the grass at Betfair
Hollywood Park, outfinished 23-1 shot Broken Dreams by a half-length and
paid $3.60 to show.
A seven race maiden who had finished no better than third while
racing in Kentucky and Canada for former trainers David Ashcraft and
Arthur Silvera, All Star Heart has blossomed for McAnally.
The Redondo Beach win was her sixth in nine starts since she arrived
in California the latter part of 2010. All Star Heart has earned
$305,385 – all but $4,430 for McAnally – in 16 races.
“What a nice filly,’’ said McAnally. “You can always tell when she’s
coming around. She starts to dapple out and act nasty. You walk in the
stall to give her a carrot and after she gets the carrot she’ll rear and
“She was away because she had a little splint. It just took time.’’
The disappointment in the Redondo Beach was Star Billing. A double
stakes winner over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf, she finished last as
the 8-5 favorite in her initial outing since her 10-1 upset in the
Grade I Matriarch last Nov. 25.
“She bobbled a little on the first turn and she was a little
uncomfortable from that point,’’ said jockey Victor Espinoza. “On the
backside, she tried to grab the bridle just a little, but not much. At
the three-eighths, I emptied out and I just didn’t have enough horse to
keep going with her. We’ll see what happens next time.’’