Updated on 09/16/2011 6:53AM

Above Perfection survives duel


ARCADIA, Calif. - In a sprint that took on the appearance of a match race, Above Perfection held off Kalookan Queen to win Saturday's $128,375 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita.

Above Perfection, who carried 117 pounds, and Kalookan Queen, the 122-pound highweight, were never more than a length apart in the six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

The 2-5 favorite, Kalookan Queen, ridden by Alex Solis, led after an opening quarter-mile in 21.58 seconds while racing outside of Above Perfection. On the turn, Above Perfection, ridden by Corey Nakatani, regained the lead and was a half-length in front after a half-mile in 43.46.

Through the stretch, Above Perfection ($6) was in front of Kalookan Queen, drawing off to win by a length in 1:08.65.

"I was surprised when Kalookan Queen went with us," said winning trainer Darrell Vienna. "His filly can really kick at the end. If my filly has a weakness, it can be at the end of her races."

Enchanted Woods and Warren's Whistle were never a factor. Enchanted Woods finished third, three lengths behind Kalookan Queen.

The Grade 3 Las Flores was Above Perfection's third stakes win, but first at the graded level. Last July, she finished second to Xtra Heat in the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park.

Owned by David and Rita Milch, the 4-year-old Above Perfection has won six of eight starts and $316,537.