October 11, 2014

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Velvet Mesquite won the $100,000 California Distaff by a half-length on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Velvet Mesquite ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.39 and paid $7.40, $4.40 and $3.40 as the 5-2 favorite. It was the 4-year-old filly's fifth win in six starts on the track's turf course.

Heat Trap returned $5.20 and $3.60, while Go West Marie was another length back in third and paid $4.60 to show.

Velvet Mesquite broke sluggishly from the No. 9 post in the field of 10 Cal-bred or sired fillies and mares.

''She's so tall that it took her longer to get up after slipping a little at the start,'' Smith said. ''When we turned back to the left, we had a big gap and she just took advantage of it. She was able to establish the lead nicely, was well within herself and had enough to hold them off.''

The victory, worth $60,000, increased Velvet Mesquite's career earnings to $240,606, with five wins in nine starts.

Defending champion Qiaona finished eighth.

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