ARCADIA, Calif.—A joy to behold. Ce Ce, the marvelous 6-year-old Bo Hirsch homebred daughter of Elusive Quality brought her A-Game on Sunday at Santa Anita, as she emphatically defended her title in the Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes, winning by 2 ¼ lengths as her connections hope for a repeat win as well in the Grade I, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keenland Nov. 5.
Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Victor Espinoza, the reigning Eclipse Champion Female Sprinter got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.36.
In hand under Espinoza early, Ce Ce, who tracked Teddy’s Barino, Under the Stars and Scenic Masterpiece to the half mile pole, was set down at the 3 ½ marker, angled four-deep leaving the quarter pole and took command turning for home in a huge effort.
“She ran her race, and that’s all I want from her. It doesn’t matter what happens during the race, as long as she can run her best, it’ll be good and that’s what happened here today. She’s always good, she’s a pro. She can be a little picky and when the track is not her thing, then she will not perform, like the last race in Saratoga. I’m so excited to ride her for the second time in the Breeders’ Cup! I was really proud of her and the way she ran today,” said Espinoza.
Although well beaten going seven furlongs as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade I Ballerina Handicap Aug. 28 at Saratoga, Ce Ce was hammered in the tote, going off as the 1-5 favorite among five fillies and mares three and up and returned $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10.
“I knew you could draw a line through that last one. I think she is as good as she was last year. I knew that race at Saratoga was too bad to be true. She was going in good form. She was in the one hole, and she got dirt in her face. I know now why they call Saratoga the graveyard of champions. This was a good tune-up for the Breeders’ Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint),”McCarthy remarked.
Out of Hirsch’s Grade I stakes winning Belong to Me mare Miss Houdini, Ce Ce registered her sixth career graded stakes win and her 11th win from 22 overall starts. With the winner’s check of $60,000, her earnings stand at $2,357,100.
“She’s the type of filly that you just never know. She could get up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes and fool you. That was always in the back of my head. She ran like a one to five should run and I’m so happy. We are all on schedule to go to the Breeders’ Cup, I’m so excited and God willing, we’ll be there,” Hirsch said.
“It’s all Michael McCarthy. It’s the same schedule we had last year, and he wanted to stay on her. I always wanted to try her on the turf, I would have loved it and I also wanted to get (Michael) to run her next year, but he said, ‘No, no.’ he was too nervous to have this valuable filly running everyday so, the Breeders’ Cup should be her last race then we will retire her, all things being equal.”
Under the Stars, the third choice under Juan Hernandez, kept to her task late and finished 3 ½ lengths better than early leader Teddy’s Barino and paid $3.60 and $2.10 while off at 9-2.
The second choice at 3-1 with Mike Smith, Teddy’s Barino paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.38, 44.96 and 1:09.55.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo by Benoit