By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. (October 15, 2017)-Barbara Beatrice did not race in the first nine months of 2017, sidelined by a series of minor injuries such as foot issues and a sore back.
Those frustrations were long behind co-owners Becky Wanta and trainer Phil D’Amato after Saturday’s $100,345 California Distaff Handicap on the hillside turf course. In her first start since a fifth in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Del Mar last December, Barbara Beatrice closed from last in a field of six under Tiago Pereira to win by three-quarters of a length over 24-1 Late ‘n Left.
Barbara Beatrice ($11.60) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.56. The win left D’Amato slightly surprised.
“I was expecting a late run and to stretch her out at Del Mar,” D’Amato said.
“She ran a good race down the hill last year. I thought this would be a good prep and a logical spot because she’s out of conditions. She came back fresh and more willing.”
Late ‘n Left, the longest shot in the field, set the pace and was passed by the D’Amato-trained Long Hot Summer in the stretch.
Long Hot Summer failed to sustain the rally and faded to finish third, a half-length behind Late ‘n Left.
Moonless Sky, the 3-2 favorite, was fourth, trailing by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, but was not a threat late. She was followed by Bad Ju Ju and Ready to Hula Lula.
Barbara Beatrice, a 5-year-old mare by Grazen, has won 5 of 15 starts and $289,534. The California Distaff Handicap, restricted to statebred fillies and mares, was her first win in 51 weeks, since an optional claimer on the hillside turf course last October.
Saturday’s race was her fifth appearance in a stakes. She was third in the Melair Stakes for statebreds as a 3-year-old, and fourth or fifth in her three other stakes races prior to her win on Saturday. D’Amato bred Barbara Beatrice, who will be pointed for stakes at the Del Mar autumn meeting that begins on Nov. 1.