Updated on 09/17/2011 10:46PM

Cesario best in American Oaks

The Japanese filly Cesario is all alone coming down the stretch at Hollywood Park on Sunday, posting a four-length win in the Grade 1, $750,000 American Oaks.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The racing world seemed a lot smaller at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Cesario, an invader from Japan, ran what her jockey described as the best race of her career to win the $750,000 , the richest race in the nation for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

In the Grade 1 Oaks, which featured a strong cast from three continents, Cesario was clearly best. She won by four lengths over Melhor Ainda, the 6-5 favorite who lost for the first time in her five-race career. Singhalese, 43-1, finished third in the field of 12.

Cesario was away quickly from the outside post and was always close to the front under regular rider Yuichi Fukunaga. She was third early, following pacesetter Isla Cozzene who led by as many as four lengths through early fractions of 23.33 and 46.38 seconds. At the end of the backstretch, Cesario engaged Isla Cozzene and took the lead with little effort.

"I hadn't asked her to go," Fukanaga said through an interpreter.

None of the trailing fillies offered a substantial challenge. Cesario led by 2 1/2 lengths after a mile, and 3 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. "We ran our race," Fukunaga said. "She ran her best race here."

Cesario finished 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:59.03, setting a stakes record in the fourth running.

Jockey John Velazquez said that Melhor Ainda was compromised by a poor start.

"She kind of grabbed herself and stumbled," Velazquez said. "The winner just got away and didn't come back to us."

There were five invaders from Europe. The Irish filly Luas Line had the best result of that group, finishing fourth by 6 1/2 lengths.

The win set off a massive celebration in the winner's circle for Cesario's connections - Carrot Farm and trainer Katsuhiko Sumii. She became the first Japanese-bred to win a Grade 1 in the United States. Last year, the Japanese filly Dance in the Mood finished second in the American Oaks as the favorite.

Cesario has won 5 of 6 starts and $2,578,568. The American Oaks was the third stakes win of her career, and Sumii's first stakes win in the United States.

"I've had a dream of winning in American racing, so this is the first step," Sumii said through an interpreter. "I am very happy about this."

Splendid Blended wins Vanity

In the day's first Grade 1 stakes, Splendid Blended became the first 3-year-old filly in 26 years to win the $300,000 , outfinishing Island Fashion and Andujar.

The three fillies and mares were within a length at the finish.

Andujar, the 7-10 favorite who won the Grade 2 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap last month, led to the eighth pole, but could not hold off the first two. Andujar carried topweight of 121 pounds, six more than Splendid Blended and four more than Island Fashion.

Splendid Blended ($7.40) finished 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:49.33. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Splendid Blended was second early behind Andujar, who set fractions of 23.17 and 46.31 seconds. Andujar led by a half-length after six furlongs, but was joined in early stretch by Splendid Blended and Island Fashion.

Splendid Blended took the lead in the final furlong and won by a head, but was fully extended to hold off Island Fashion.

Owned by Peter Vegso and trained by Neil Drysdale, Splendid Blended became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Vanity since It's in the Air in 1979.

The victory came in Splendid Blended's second start of the year. She won the Hollywood Starlet Stakes last December, but did not start again until a fourth-place finish in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 4.

"She's been a project," Drysdale said.

Splendid Blended has won 4 of 6 starts and $519,900.

Whilly back in top form

Who said a horse cannot return to top form after a trip to Dubai?

Whilly, who ran second in the $2 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes in March, pulled an upset in the $250,000 .

Ridden by Felipe Martinez, Whilly ($16.20) led throughout, setting a decent pace and holding off King of Happiness, the 9-5 favorite.

Whilly finished 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.30. Displaying his customary style, he dictated the pace, setting fractions of 23.55 and 47.21 seconds, leading by a length. The advantage dwindled to a head in the final furlong, but Whilly extended his lead in the final strides to win by a half-length.

"It was a tremendous performance," trainer Doug O'Neill said. He rated the victory as the finest result in Whilly's 16-race career, which includes eight wins and earnings of $882,482.

"Maybe he likes to go longer, because the pace is a little kinder early," O'Neill said.

Drysdale finished second and third, with 10-1 Fourty Niners Son finishing third in the field of eight. The Grade 2 American Handicap was Fourty Niners Son's stakes debut.

The victory was Whilly's fourth stakes win in the last year for Triple B Farms, and first success since the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita in January.