Cypress, CA (June 29, 2019)-Queen Bee to You, the only mare in a field of six, scored a nose win over 16-1 Tule Fog in Saturday’s $100,351 Bertrando Stakes for California-breds at Los Alamitos, giving trainer Andrew Lerner his first career stakes win.
The victory came a week after Queen Bee to You was denied an entry in the $100,000 Dream of Summer Stakes for statebred fillies and mares at Santa Anita by a review panel of veterinarians and stewards who have scrutinized the race, training, and medical records of horses entered to race at Southern California tracks since mid-June.
Queen Bee to You was cleared to run in the Bertrando Stakes by a panel of officials that consisted of two of the five people who also reviewed entries at Santa Anita. Queen Bee to You was transferred to Lerner’s stable in early June after previous trainer Mike Pender was suspended by Santa Anita stewards for 30 days over animal welfare violations, the stewards wrote in a ruling issued on June 7.
Lerner said he was surprised that the review panel did not physically inspect Queen Bee to You before the entry in the Dream of Summer Stakes was denied. He speculated on Sunday that Queen Bee to You had not been in his care long enough before the Dream of Summer Stakes for the panel to be satisfied.
“They didn’t pull her out of the stall,” he said. “They didn’t want to take a chance, I guess.”
The Bertrando Stakes was the feature race on the opening day of the 10-day Los Alamitos summer meeting.
Queen Bee to You ($23.80) was always near the front in the Bertrando Stakes at a mile on dirt. Ridden by Ruben Fuentes, Queen Bee to You was within a head of the lead throughout, tracking Tule Fog through an opening quarter-mile in 23.42 seconds before taking the lead through a half-mile in 46.04.
Queen Bee to You led by two lengths with a quarter-mile to go and was challenged by Tule Fog through the final furlong, holding a slim advantage at the wire.
“What a great ride from Ruben,” said Lerner, 30.
Queen Bee to You was timed in 1:35.95. A 5-year-old mare by Old Topper, Queen Bee to You has won 5 of 27 starts and earned $410,419. She was second in the Fran’s Valentine Stakes on turf at Santa Anita on May 12 in her final start for Pender. She is owned by Christopher St. Hilaire and Adam Vali.