LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) Take Charge Brandi led all the way to win the $350,000 Starlet by a half-length Saturday at Los Alamitos, clinching an Eclipse Award for 2-year-old filly.
D. Wayne Lukas became the first trainer to win both thoroughbred and quarter horse Grade 1 races at the Orange County track, where he was based in the 1970s. It was the record eighth career win in the Starlet for the 79-year-old Hall of Famer.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Take Charge Brandi ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.18 and paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40 as the 13-10 favorite.
The 2-year-old filly earned her third straight graded stakes victory in six weeks, having won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 at 61-1 odds and the $500,000 Delta Princess on Nov. 22 at Delta Downs in Vinson, Louisiana.
''The whole purpose of coming here was to take the doubt out of it (the Eclipse Awards) if we could and I didn't think we had to win to do that,'' Lukas said, having told owner Willis Horton that if Take Charge Brandi finished in the money that she would still have a shot at year-end honors.
''People have been so gracious here,'' said Lukas, now based in Louisville, Kentucky. ''People that I haven't seen for years, fans I recognized from being here every night when we were running the quarter horses. It's wonderful.''
Feathered returned $3 and $2.60 as the first-ever start at Los Alamitos for trainer Todd Pletcher. Maybellene was another neck back in third and paid $4.80 to show at 15-1 odds for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.