Angelica Zapata added to her status as a new Calder distaff star on Saturday by romping to a 7 1/2 length victory over My Pal Chrissy in the $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap.
The win was Angelica Zapata’s fourth in a row — all at Calder and all in stakes.
That success has exceeded the expectations that trainer Ron Pellegrini had when he brought the talented but sometimes fractious 4-year-old filly with him from Kentucky to Florida early this year.
“We wanted to give her a chance to mature and get her ready for Gulfstream,” Pellegrini said after Saturday’s win.
Gulfstream Park will open its next race season on Dec. 1, one day after Calder ends its meet.
Pellegrini said the 8-mile van ride to Gulfstream should be no problem for Angelica Zapata, who was not comfortable on some longer trips between tracks.
At her new Calder home she was the 1-5 favorite in the 1 1/16 mile Stage Door Betty, run during rain on a track listed as sloppy.
Angelica Zapata took the lead mid-way on the turn and gradually expanded her margin under jockey Luis Saez. She won in 1:44.86, a good time on an off track.
My Pal Chrissy came in three lengths ahead of third-place finisher Callmethesqueeze. At 28-1, she was the longest shot in the seven-horse field, even though she won the Stage Door Betty and the Elmer Heubeck at Calder last year. But the 4-year-old has won only once in nine starts this year. She lost some of her form during a two-race stay in Kentucky during the spring, said her trainer/owner Padarath Lutchman.
“She is comfortable here again,” Lutchman said.
Angelica Zapata, a daughter of Sharp Humor, raced in seven stakes in Kentucky. She had one ungraded win and finished second in two Grade 3 stakes.
Angelica Zapata made her Calder debut on April 27, finishing second in a turf allowance. Since then, she has won four dirt stakes at a mile or longer. Her victories prior to Saturday were in the Sara Success, Emergency Nurse and Nancy’s Glitter.
Pellegrini said she might give Angelica Zapata a break until the My Charmer Handicap (Grade 3) at Calder on Nov. 22. That race will be 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Flying Trip beat Starship Truffles by 7 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s second race in Calder’s three-race Tropical Starter Series of $50,000 stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Flying Trip won the one mile dirt race in 1:39.72. She was ridden by Pedro Monterey and is trained by Gilberto Zerpa.
• Handsome Mike beat Macho Macho by two lengths in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2) for 3-year-olds at Parx Racing in Philadelphia. Handsome Mike won the 1 1/8 mile race in 1:51.63 under jockey Irad Ortiz.
• Well Spelled defeated Trinniberg, whose home track is Calder, by a half length in the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes for 3-year-olds at Parx Racing. Well Spelled was ridden by Pablo Fragoso and won the six-furlong race in 1:09.86.
• Dust and Diamonds beat Judy the Beauty by 1 1/4 lengths in the $200,000 Gallant Bloom (Grade 2) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Dust and Diamonds was ridden by Julien Leparoux and ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.71.
Musical Romance, whose home track is Calder, finished third. She is scheduled to race in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.