Updated on 09/17/2011 10:30PM

Bay Meadows: Sierra Sweetie captures Carmel Stakes


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Sierra Sweetie ($5.20) scored her second straight stakes victory, holding off Bai and Bai late as she captured the Carmel Stakes at Bay Meadows on Sunday.

The one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies was her first try around two turns. She sat behind brisk opening fractions by Come On Margaret, took over by the quarter pole and then drifted out a bit in the lane, losing some momentum as Bai and Bai, who was wide most of the way, moved to the rail to challenge.

Bai and Bai made a strong move in the lane, but Sierra Sweetie responded when challenged and won by 1+ (one one-half) lengths in 1:37.49. Talverna was another six lengths back in third.

"I laid off the speed horse and waited for her to get tired," winning rider Carlos Silva said. "At the quarter pole, I asked my filly, and she took it to the wire. I had plenty of horse. Once she saw that other horse inside her, she took off again."

Winning trainer Jeff Bonde opted to run in the Carmel instead of Monday's Cover Gal Stakes at Oak Tree in part because of the virus spreading through the barn area there.

"I figured whichever race, it was a prep for Cal Cup and would give her a chance to go two turns," he said. "I was a little concerned she might be sitting too close to a fast pair. Bai and Bai came running, but, to her credit, she dug in after drifting out a bit and seeming to lose some of her momentum."

Sierra Sweetie, who broke her maiden in the $100,000 Generous Portion at Del Mar, earned $43,450 to boost her lifetime earnings to $126,550 with two wins and a pair of seconds in four starts.