In a driving finish, 9-5 favorite Egg Drop, with Martin Garcia aboard, held on to win by a head over longshot Miss Pippa and Mike Smith in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita, getting one mile on turf in 1:33.52.
Trained by Mike Mitchell and owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Egg Drop sat a comfortable second behind fast fractions of 22.33, 45.09, 1:09.16 and 1:21.36, and was three-wide turning for home in what appeared to be a wide-open affair with three sixteenths of a mile to run.
“It was the best trip,” said Garcia. “I was expecting more horses to show speed, but that didn’t happen. That made it easy for E Z Kitty (who eventually finished last with Corey Nakatani at 33-1) to get the lead. My horse was very calm, which is what I was hoping for. When I asked her to go, she was waiting for company.
“When the company came (Miss Pippa), she pinned her ears back and she took off again.”
Idle since winning the Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar Sept. 2, and favored in a field of nine, Egg Drop paid $5.80, $3.60 and $2.80.
With the winner’s share of $90,000, Egg Drop increased her earnings to $344,020. She now has three wins and a second from four starts on turf. A 4-year-old Florida-bred filly by Alphabet Soup, her overall mark stands at 11-5-2-2.
“Garcia fits this mare,” said Mitchell. “When I routed her for the first time, I thought she’d have to have the early lead. He just nurses her along and rates her real nice…This makes her a multiple graded stakes winner and I need the money. She just rates so nice, so kind. From Day One, when they sent her to me, they said she’s a freak, and she’s such a sweet filly.”
Off at 7-1, Miss Pippa was well back early and rallied four-wide turning for home. “I thought I had her (Egg Drop),” said Smith. “My hat’s off to her, she never gave up. I needed her to fold, just a little bit, and I would have got to her. My horse ran dynamite, though. I’m very happy with the way she’s running.”
Miss Pippa finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Customer Base and paid $6.60 and $4.20.
Customer Base, ridden by Gary Stevens, was in tight quarters turning for home and finished well to be third, 1 ¼ lengths in front of A Time to Love.
Off at 9-1, Customer Base paid $5.00 to show.
More Chocolate, the 2-1 second choice with Joel Rosario, never threatened from well off the pace and finished seventh.
Santa Anita’s 24-day Autumn Meet drew to a close Sunday. Live racing returns to Santa Anita on Dec. 26, opening day of the track’s traditional winter/spring meet.