12/26/2015 8:00PM

Fila Primera handles mud in Pago Hop

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Fila Primera, making her first start on dirt following six races on turf, wins the Pago Hop by a length under Jose Valdivia Jr.

Fila Primera had made six career starts over five different turf courses before Saturday, and now she can add dirt to her resume. Fila Primera never had raced on dirt, but she had been training so well the last several weeks over the Fair Grounds main track that trainer Mike Stidham left her in an off-the-turf edition of the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes, and Fila Primera won with speed to spare.

“We just felt like we should give her a shot and find out,” Stidham said of the decision to start despite the surface switch.

After tracking the pace along the rail under Jose Valdivia Jr., Fila Primera got stuck behind horses with three-sixteenths of a mile left in the Pago Hop, but she had so much run that Valdivia was able to slip between rivals, and Fila Primera took it from there, coming home gamely to win by one length over pacesetting Run Zippy Run. She ran one mile over a muddy, sealed track in 1:39.67 and paid a generous $16.80 to win. Southern Gem finished one length behind Run Zippy Run for third.

Stidham, currently leading trainer at Fair Grounds, told Valdivia that he would know soon enough whether Fila Primera was handling the racing surface Saturday, and the filly gave Valdivia a good feeling from the start.

“She was there for me the whole way. She’s one of those fillies that is very game, like a colt,” Valdivia said. “She’s not afraid to slice through there.”

Fila Primera, a daughter of War Front owned by Gary Vandeweghe and Cobra Farm, now has won two in a row since joining the Stidham stable. After winning her first stakes, she is 3 for 7 lifetime.

Thirteen Arrows all the way in Pan Zareta

Thirteen Arrows broke on top from post 1 and led all the way winning the $60,000 Pan Zareta Stakes, which drew just five entrants and scratched down to a three-horse field.

Thirteen Arrows beat House of Sole by four lengths, with Steel Cut another one length back in third. Ridden by Mitchell Murrill for trainer Larry Jones and Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Thirteen Arrows ran six furlongs on a muddy, sealed track in 1:10.67 and paid $3.40 to win. 

Thirteen Arrows, by Indian Charlie won her third straight race and second stakes in a row while running her career record to 10-6-1-1.