ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2021)–In what amounted to a paid workout, Bo Hirsch’s homebred Ce Ce waltzed to five length win in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes at Santa Anita, with her next stop scheduled to be the Grade I, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Ce Ce, a two-time Grade I winner last year at age four, got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.00 in what was her fifth start of the year.
Third, about three lengths off of dueling leaders Scotish Star and Eyes Open three furlongs out, Ce Ce appeared well within herself as she moved into contention around the far turn and gained the advantage with a furlong to run in a facile win under a hand ride with her ears pricked.
“She’s good right now,” said Espinoza, who rode her to a third place finish going seven furlongs in the Grade I Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 28. “Her last race was a little tough, but I worked her here and she was ready to run today. This race will be good for her confidence going into the Breeders’ Cup.”
A handy winner of the Grade II, seven furlong Princess Rooney Stakes two starts back at Gulfstream Park, Ce Ce, who also took Santa Anita’s Grade I Beholder Mile last year as well as the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park, was the prohibitive 1-5 favorite in a field of five fillies and mares and paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.
A 5-year-old mare by Elusive Quality out of Hirsch’s Grade I winning Miss Houdini, by Belong to Me, Ce Ce now has three graded stakes wins among seven victories from 15 overall starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $1,233,100.
“This is great, I couldn’t have written this up any better,” said McCarthy. “She had a couple of easy weeks after Saratoga, I thought she was doing well enough today to do it in the fashion she did it. Especially when I wasn’t sure how the pace would wind up early. I couldn’t be happier with her. We are looking forward to getting her to Del Mar.”
On Deck, who followed the winner around the far turn, out-finished Scotish Star by a neck for second money with Ricky Gonzalez up and paid $9.80 and $4.60 while off at 31-1.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Scotish Star was off at 7-2 and paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.99, 45.15 and 1:09.46.
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Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Ce Ce, (Benoit)