06/02/2012 9:30PM

Golden Gate: Best Present Ever pulls away in Campanile


ALBANY, Calif. – Favored Best Present Ever ($4.40) did just what she was expected to do as she scored her third straight victory while winning her stakes debut by five lengths in the $100,000 Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

As expected, Oh Molly Brannigan took the lead immediately in the one-mile turf race for 3-year-old California-bred fillies. She cruised on the lead while setting honest fractions of 23.23, 47.65 and 1:12.37.

Best Present Ever was content to sit off the pace, began to edge up on the second turn, and then made a quick move along the rail to take command of the race into the stretch before pulling away. Her winning time was 1:36.57.

“What a nice filly," said winning rider Russell Baze. "She’s pretty much push-button. She sits and waits for you to ask her, and when you do, she cuts and runs. She did everything I asked her to do.

“For attending that kind of pace, that was a good turn of foot she showed today. It was an impressive effort.”

Juan Hernandez rode the runner-up Oh Molly Brannigan, and was pleased with her second straight runner-up effort in a stakes. She also finished second in the Golden Poppy.

“She was running relaxed for me,” he said. “She responded in the stretch, but the other filly was too much. My filly ran a good race.”

Warren’s Amber finished third 2 1/2 lengths behind Oh Molly Brannigan.

Best Present Ever, a Dennis and Norine Grenier homebred trained by Eric Kruljac, earned $57,000. She has three wins, a second and a third in six career starts and has earned $143,800.