03/09/2008 12:00AM

Ariege holds off Golden Doc A

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Ariege was unable to beat Golden Doc A when they met on turf in the Blue Norther here Dec. 30. However, a couple more months of getting comfortable in her new surroundings after shipping in from Europe, more ground, and a move to Cushion Track helped Ariege turn the tables as she earned her first stakes win by taking Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks.

Owned by IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group and trained by Bobby Frankel, Ariege bided her time toward the back of the field in the $300,000, 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies. She made a strong, wide, early run on the far turn to reach contention under Corey Nakatani after Lovely Isle had been allowed to set a dawdling pace. She then swept her past her rivals and seemed on her way to a big win, but Golden Doc A finished strongly, cutting her margin to a half-length. Final Fling stalked the pace from the inside and cut the corner to take the lead into the lane, finished well for third but it was basically a two-horse race in the final 70 yards.

"They did a remarkable job with her," Nakatani said. "They made it easy for me. I have no doubts at all she’ll go farther."

Ariege, by Doneraile Court, a son of Seattle Slew, out of the Grade 1-winning mare Kostroma, covered the distance in 1:42.73 and paid $11.40. She now has two wins from six starts for earnings of over $230,000.