Chismosa Fights Hard, Comes Out on Top in G3 Las Flores

January 1, 2024

Chismosa puts away Hot Peppers to win the Las Flores (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— In a race that changed inexplicably when favored Sweet Azteca ducked out at the top of the stretch, California-bred Chismosa essentially cut the corner and went on to a hard-fought 1 ¼ length score in Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores, which served as the main event on a spectacular New Year’s Day at The Great Race Place.

Ridden by Kyle Frey and trained by Rafael DeLeon, Chismosa was about two lengths off Sweet Azteca and Frankie Dettori while third mid-way on the turn. From there, she angled outside the favorite leaving the quarter pole but when Sweet Azteca ducked out, blowing the turn for home, Frey was able to cross over her heels, cutting to her inside. At that point, Chismosa was head and head with a resurgent Hot Peppers and was able to gradually draw clear nearing the wire.

Frey, who hadn’t been aboard Chismosa since breaking her maiden 11 starts back on July 23, 2022 at Del Mar, picked up his first win at Santa Anita’s fledgling Classic Meet, which turned four days old today.

Unbeaten in three starts, including a pair of statebred stakes at age two, Chismosa, a 4-year-old filly by Clubhouse Ride, was winless in eight starts last year and was off at 8-1 today in a field of five older fillies and mares, returning $18.60, $6.40 and $3.20.

Owned by her breeder, Jaime Renella, Chismosa, who is out of the Cat Dreams mare You Can Dream, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her bankroll to $368,250 from an overall mark of 12-4-2-2.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez and trained by Phil D’Amato, Hot Peppers popped the gate but was unable to go with Sweet Azteca in the run to the five furlong pole. Off at 2-1, Hot Peppers paid $3.80 and $2.80 while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Sweet Azteca.

Off at 6-5, Sweet Azteca, who tried to re-rally after blowing the turn for home, finished a half length better than Lady T while returning $2.60 to show.

Fractions on the race were 21.96, 44.70 and 57.38.

Live racing resumes with first post time for a nine-race card on Friday at 12 noon. With admission gates opening at 10 a.m., Santa Anita offers free parking and admission, as well as $3 beers and $5 margaritas on all Fridays.


To the winner’s circle for Chismosa (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)


KYLE FREY, CHISMOSA, WINNER: “It’s kinda like full circle getting back on the filly today. She ran very game. As you saw, the favorite ducked out there at the top of the lane and I didn’t want to lose a ton of ground by staying outside her, so I was able to cut inside, over heels and get to the inside. From there, she just kept grinding. Big effort.”


RAFAEL DELEON, CHISMOSA, WINNER: “I thought Kyle made a good move. We talked in the paddock of how she is just one pace. If she picked up the bridle, she’s ready to go. He felt right away the filly picked up the bridle and he was looking for room and he found a clear space inside the other horse. I’m happy he did that. I’m happy to win and I thank God for giving me the victory. I gave her some time off because every morning I touch my horses and she didn’t like when I touched her in a certain spot, so I sent her to my farm for a little while. Once she came back, she came back to win. I’m just very happy.”


JAIME RENELLA, CHISMOSA, WINNER: “First, I’d like to thank God for all the blessings he’s given me. She is an amazing filly. She’s never had a clean trip in all of her races, and we finally got one today. Starting off the new year like this there’s more to come.”

NOTES: The winning owner/breeder is Jaime R. Renella.

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