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Ultra Blend Beats Big Girls in Hirsch

Nels Erickson’s California-bred Ultra Blend, the longest shot in the field of fillies and mares at 10-1 despite an ultra consistent record, rallied from last place to win the featured Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes under comebacking jockey Tyler Baze Saturday at Del Mar.


Restrained in the early stages of the mile and one-sixteenth contest over Polytrack, Ultra Blend circled her opposition into the stretch and drove to a neck triumph over Zazu, lone three-year-old in the field of five who closed stoutly on the rail. Switch,the 7-10 favorite, finished third, a length back of Zazu, her stablemate from the barn of trainer John Sadler, with St. Trinians fourth and pacemaker Freedom Star fading to last place.


Withdrawn from the original line-up were Washington Bridge and Ellafitz.


Ultra Blend, a five-year-old daughter of Richly Blended trained by Art Sherman, was scoring her eleventh victory in 23 starts and first prize of $180,000 increased her career bankroll to $845,646. Testifying to her consistency are five seconds and an equal number of thirds. Final time was 1:42.28.


Ultra Blend returned $23.60, $7 and $2.80. Zazu, piloted by Garrett Gomez, paid $3.80 and $2.20, while favored Switch returned $2.10 to show. Because of heavy wagering to show on Switch, there was a minus show pool totaling $21,291.71.


For the 28-year-old Baze, Ultra Blend’s triumph marked the high point of a comeback begun in late April at Hollywood Park. The rider sustained major injuries July 24 of last summer at Del Mar when his mount butted him in the face prior to a race. He missed the remainder of the year and more than four months of 2011 while recuperating.


Because there were no perfect tickets in the Pick Six, Sunday’s program, featuring the “Battle of the Exes” match race between jockeys Chantal Sutherland and Mike Smith and the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for two-year-olds, will also present a carryover of $145,934 starting with the fifth of ten races.

 

 

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