02/16/2013 6:27PM

Fair Grounds: Ante Up Annie continues development with win in Sarah Lane's Oates

Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.
Ante Up Annie and Brian Hernandez Jr. (left) hold off Mucho Mans Gold and Rosie Napravnik to win the Sarah Lane's Oates Stakes on Saturday.

Horses trained by Dallas Stewart, even those that can run, rarely win their first start. Race by race, little by little, they start to put things together, figure stuff out.

The 3-year-old filly Ante Up Annie finished fourth in her first start, a sprint, and fourth in her second start, a route, but then got the hang of things. She cleared the maiden ranks third time out, went on to capture a first-level allowance race, and ran her winning streak to three Saturday at Fair Grounds by beating Mucho Mans Gold by three-quarters of a length in the $60,000 Sarah Lane's Oates Stakes for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Scheduled for turf but rained onto dirt, the Sarah Lane's Oates unfolded at a moderate tempo, with Mucho Mans Gold setting splits of 24.26 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 48.72 for the opening half, and passing six furlongs in 1:14.58. Ante Up Annie, piloted by Brian Hernandez Jr., saved ground while racing just in behind the leader, with Hernandez tipping Ante Up Annie three wide at the quarter pole to make their stretch run. Ante Up Annie collared Mucho Mans Gold before the eighth pole, and while never delivering a knockout blow, held that filly clear to prevail in a determined effort.

Dreamglider, last in the early going, rallied up the rail for third, with Ashley B. fourth. Winning time for one mile 70 yards on a fast track was 1:45.34. Ante Up Annie paid $4.60 as the favorite.

Stewart trains the filly for veteran Louisiana owner Murray Valene. Clear Creek Stud bred Ante Up Annie, a daughter of Majestic Warrior and Always Annie’s.