December 26, 2018 | Arcadia, CA – Dare to Dream Stable’s Spiced Perfection took the giant leap of faith from California-bred stakes competition to Grade 1 winner in the $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on opening day at Santa Anita, kicking off the first of four graded stakes races on the Arcadia, Calif., track’s opening day program.
Spiced Perfection broke from the 9 hole and used a 4 wide stalking trip around the track to defeat another California-bred Hot Autumn, by 1 1/4 lengths for the huge victory. The Bob Baffert trained Emboldened was 3rd with the Wesley Ward trainee Happy Like a Fool checking in fourth in the field of eight. Previously unbeaten Dream Tree, the 3-5 favorite, showed speed for the opening half mile, then faded to last, beaten more than 25 lengths, for her first defeat in six career starts.
Spiced Perfection covered seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.54 and paid $12.80 to win in front of an opening day crowd of over 41,000 fans on a gorgeous sun-splashed afternoon.
Trained by Brian Koriner and ridden by Flavien Prat, Spiced Perfection is a daughter of Smiling Tiger out of Perfect Feat, by Pleasantly Perfect, bred in California by Premier Thoroughbreds LLC. The filly was a $50,000 2 year-old in training sale purchase by Dare To Dream Stable out of the Barrett’s March 2017 sale.
The La Brea was the first graded stakes attempt for Spiced Perfection, who has raced primarily against state-bred competition since making her debut as a 2-year-old in June 2017. She tallied three stakes wins against California-breds, most recently winning the Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 11.
Hot Autumn jumped out to the early lead in the La Brea, but was soon overtaken by Dream Tree, who went the opening quarter mile in :22.68 and the half in :45.68. Spiced Perfection broke alertly from the outside No. 9 post position and was just behind the leading pair while well off the rail down the backstretch and around the turn.
Prat rallied Spiced Perfection four wide into the stretch, with the opening six furlongs clocked in 1:10.47, and she wore down her rivals down the lane for the win going away, her sixth in 14 starts. She has amassed $622,405 in career earnings.
“Brian didn’t say much beforehand,” said Prat. “She’s been training well and I thought her last race was really nice so we were confident today. She’s really push-button. I really thought she’d run well today.”
“She really did it on her own,” said Koriner. “[Flavien Prat] even had to slow her down on the backside because she was running up there. I was just hoping she wasn’t too fresh and get tired late. It was a great move up, to have little pedigree and win a Grade I, I don’t know what that does for her but we’re happy. She’s got over half a million dollars now so that always helps.