08/24/2013 1:59PM

Del Mar: Topic sets sights on Rodeo Drive Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Topic, with Garrett Gomez riding, wins the CTT and TOC Handicap.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Topic, a 3-year-old filly trained by Neil Drysdale, spent the summer growing up.

Friday, Topic won the first stakes of her career in the $95,700 California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California Handicap at Del Mar. The only 3-year-old filly in a field of nine fillies and mares, Topic closed from last to win by 3 1/4 lengths, finishing 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:12.85.

Trainer Neil Drysdale said after the race that Topic has developed both mentally and physically in recent months. He noticed improvement in the paddock Friday.

“Normally, she’s difficult to saddle,” he said. Friday, “she was pretty good.”

The win in the CTT and TOC Handicap has led Drysdale to consider the $250,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Sept. 28 as a potential next start for Topic, who races for Alice Bamford and Anthony Speelman.

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The Grade 1 Rodeo Drive is California’s top prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and is expected to draw such notable runners as the major stakes winners Marketing Mix and Tiz Flirtatious.

“I think it’s a possibility,” Drysdale said. “The farther she goes, the better she runs.”

In Friday’s CTT and TOC Handicap, Topic was a patient filly under jockey Garrett Gomez before he urged her into contention at the end of the backstretch. She took the lead after making a six-wide rally on the turn.

Drysdale had the winning exacta. Freedom Reigns overcame trouble in early stretch to finish second, 1  1/4 lengths in front of I Dazzle.

A Discreet Cat filly who has won 2 of 7 starts and earned $145,510, Topic made her second start in a stakes in the CTT and TOC Handicap, having finished third in the Grade 1 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 13. The winner of a maiden race in June, Topic closed from sixth in a field of eight in the American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles on turf to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Emollient.

Leading contender Midnight Music was scratched Friday because she has been in foal for more than four months. In May 2012, the California Horse Racing Board enacted a rule that banned the racing of mares who had been in foal for 120 days. Midnight Music was in compliance with that rule when she finished second in the Lucie Manet Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 5.