12/26/2016 8:41PM

Constellation pulls of 12-1 upset in La Brea

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Benoit & Associates
Constellation wins the La Brea Stakes on Monday under Flavien Prat, who picked up the mount on raceday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – With some white dots speckling her chestnut coat, the cleverly named Constellation has been cut out to be a top-class filly since she was purchased at auction as a 2-year-old for $800,000, and on Monday at Santa Anita, she became a star.

Constellation, making just her second start since being transferred to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, pulled off a 12-1 upset in the $301,035 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, one of two Grade 1 races on the opening-day card here. It was her first graded stakes win.

Constellation got an ideal stalking trip, but needed almost the entire length of the stretch to run down Finley’sluckycharm, who sprinted to the lead and only was reeled in nearing the wire. Constellation won by a half-length, with Finley’sluckycharm three lengths clear of third-place Enola Gray.

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Lunar Empress was fourth and was followed, in order, by favored Lightstream, Perfect Pic, Conish, and Chao Chom, who was eased but walked off under her own power.

Constellation covered seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:21.83. Flavien Prat picked up the mount after David Flores had his flight delayed; he would have been unable to get here in time.

“They’ve always had high hopes for her. She’s one of Larry’s favorites,” Hollendorfer said, referring to Larry Roth, whose family’s LNJ Foxwoods owns Constellation.

Constellation, a daughter of Bellamy Road, made her first six starts in New York for trainer Steve Asmussen, and won three times. After moving to Hollendorfer, she went to Turf Paradise last month for the Phoenix Stakes, which she won under Flores in her first start in more than seven months. She has done her training locally at Los Alamitos under Hollenforfer’s assistant there, Don Chatlos.

“She’s been there and has trained well, so we left her there after she won at Turf Paradise,” said Hollendorfer, who keeps his main string at Santa Anita.

Hollendorfer said he wasn’t sure whether he would move Constellation around two turns, or keep her sprinting.

“I think she’ll stretch out,” he said. “She’ll relax. That’s one thing we learned at Turf Paradise. She broke a little tardy, but David didn’t rush her. He let her go on and she rated well.”

Constellation gives Hollendorfer another top 3-year-old filly who is about to turn 4. He also, of course, trains the champion Songbird, who is set to return to his stable next month after a freshening in Kentucky at WinStar Farm following her first loss, which came against Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.