08/06/2011 8:35PM

Del Mar: Ultra Blend rallies for upset in Clement Hirsch Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Ultra Blend outfinishes Zazu by a neck to win the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar.

DEL M AR, Calif. – Beware of Ultra Blend when she rallies wide.

The 5-year-old California-bred mare rolled past four rivals to win Saturday’s $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes for fillies and mares at Del Mar. The Grade 1 Hirsch is by far the most prestigious win of Ultra Blend’s career.

Confidently ridden by Tyler Baze, Ultra Blend ($23.60) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.28, outfinishing Zazu, the 3-year-old filly who made her first start against older fillies and mares.

Zazu was unable to keep up with Ultra Blend, who had the momentum in early stretch, losing by a neck.

When Baze guided Ultra Blend four wide into the stretch, trainer Art Sherman’s confidence soared.

“I thought I had a chance,” he said. “She’ll go by horses when she’s in the clear. She loves to be on the outside.”

Switch, the two-time Grade 1 winner, could only finish third as the 4-5 favorite, leading to the eighth pole, but fading in the final furlong to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Ultra Blend.

WATCH RACE REPLAY: Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

“I’m disappointed,” said John Sadler, who trains Switch. “I don’t know how else to describe it other than that. She looked flat and dull when she came back to be unsaddled, so we’ll have to check her out.”

The win gave Ultra Blend an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs in November, although Sherman is as intrigued about the possibility of running in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint the same day.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

Owned by Nels Erickson, Ultra Blend has won 11 of 23 starts and $815,646. In May, she finished second in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park and was promoted to first after the disqualification of St Trinians.

In between the Milady and Clement Hirsch, Ultra Blend finished second, by the shortest of noses, in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park.