02/08/2015 7:53PM

Birdlover returns from year layoff to win Wishing Well

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Benoit & Associates
Birdlover, unraced since finishing second in this same race a year ago, wins the Wishing Well under Elvis Trujillo.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Layoffs were not an issue for Birdlover and Indecise in Sunday’s $79,000 Wishing Well Stakes at Santa Anita.

Birdlover, unraced since finishing second in the Wishing Well Stakes on Feb. 9, 2014, led throughout the Wishing Well Stakes over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, beating Indecise by a half-length. Indecise had not raced since winning an optional claimer on Jan. 19, 2014.

Birdlover won her second stakes in the Wishing Well, which was restricted to fillies and mares who had not won a graded stakes since July 1. None of the seven runners have won a graded stakes in their career.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, Birdlover sustained a fractured hock last year, and was nearly retired.

“She was training super,” O’Neill said. “She’s so honest.”

Ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Birdlover ($8.60) led by a length on the hillside, and by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. Indecise, a 12-1 outsider, ran well through the stretch to be closest at the finish. Trained by Richard Mandella, Indecise finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Fanticola, the winner of the Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 17. Birdlover was entered for the Megahertz, but scratched from the also-eligible list.

In the Wishing Well, Birdlover was timed in 1:13.22. She was the third choice in the betting.

Sky Treasure, the 7-5 favorite, closed from sixth to finish fourth, followed by Not too Shiny, Charm the Marker, and Burning Arch. Global Hottie and Harlington’s Rose were withdrawn on Sunday morning.

Birdlover, a 5-year-old British-bred mare by the Green Desert stallion Byron, is owned by a partnership and has won 4 of 14 starts and earned $219,535. She won the minor China Doll Stakes here in 2013, and was second in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes that season. Birdlover made two starts in 2014 before she was sidelined.

O’Neill said that Birdlover would be considered for turf sprints or miles in coming months.