A sloppy racetrack resulting from a morning of heavy weather in south Florida proved little obstacle to Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Street Girl, who won the first stakes race of her career in thrilling fashion when putting her nose in front at the wire to take an off-the-turf edition of the $100,000 Calder Oaks by the scantest of margins.
“It was close at the end, but I felt that I got there,” jockey Edgard Zayas said after the victory, which was the young rider’s first career stakes win. “My filly knew where the wire was.”
Breaking alertly from post three, Street Girl settled comfortably mid-pack in the six-horse field while her uncoupled stablemate Love to Score was put on the lead through splits of :24.50, :49.74, and 1:14.23.
“The plan was to sit third, not be too far back, and make my move past the three-eighths pole,” Zayas said.
Holding true to that plan, Street Girl began a steady advance towards the front while racing wide through the final turn. But an opening on the rail allowed rival E B Ryder, ridden by Hugo Sanchez, to slip through and take a lead that she would hold for the length of the stretch before yielding to Street Girl in the final jump.
“When Hugo’s horse snuck up the inside on us, I knew the run to the finish was going to be tough,” Zayas said. “But my horse kept on going, and she got in front when it mattered.”
Trained by Manuel Azpurua, Street Girl returned $4.00, $2.20, and $2.10 as the even-money favorite, while E B Ryder paid $3.20 and $2.20 when an unlucky second. It was another 6 ¼ lengths back to Faerie Queen, who brought back $2.60 when third.
The final time for the 1 1/16-mile trip over sloppy going was 1:46.90.
With her victory in the Calder Oaks, Street Girl has now won twice in eight career starts, with earnings of $98,772. The daughter of Street Hero was claimed by her current connections for $50,000 out of her career debut at Gulfstream Park on December 9, 2012.