08/11/2011 7:58PM

Del Mar: Calif. Nectar leads to wire

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California Nectar led throughout Thursday's seventh race, an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf, winning her first start since March.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela for trainer Doug O'Neill, California Nectar ($17) won by a half-length over Sleep Tight, who was in traffic with a quarter-mile remaining and closed well. West Ruler was third in the field of seven. California Nectar ran five furlongs on turf in 56.07 seconds.

Linda Lou, the 7-2 fourth choice, reared at the start and lost all chance.

California Nectar won two stakes last winter - the California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies in January and the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs in January.