06/15/2013 8:59PM

Hollywood Park: Byrama makes winning move in Vanity

Benoit & Associates
Byrama and jockey Gary Stevens won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap by 3 1/2 lengths Saturday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Byrama was closing rapidly on pacesetter Royal Tiger on the turn Saturday’s $250,250 Vanity Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park when jockey Gary Stevens altered his strategy.

With More Chocolate ranging on the outside of Byrama as the field neared the stretch, Stevens knew he needed to react to stay ahead of that well-regarded rival.

“I knew she was the horse to beat, and I put her away,” Stevens said.

With the move, Byrama ($25.40) went on to score an upset win in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles. Byrama won the Vanity by 3 1/2 lengths over More Chocolate, finishing in 1:51.40.

“Gary gave her a perfect race and got her to settle,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.

The Vanity was the longest winning distance in Byrama’s career. A 4-year-old British-bred filly by Byron, Byrama won two sprint stakes on turf in 2012.

The presence of Byrama in the Vanity was a case of Callaghan and owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners taking a chance at a different distance. The other option was Sunday’s $70,000 Desert Stormer Handicap for female sprinters, a race that drew two Grade 1 winners in Include Me Out and Teddy’s Promise.

 “It was either that or this race,” Callaghan said. “This looked an open race and it was a Grade 1. That looked like a hard race.”

In her only preceding start at 1 1/8 miles, Byrama was second in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes on turf at Santa Anita in April 2012.

The Vanity had six runners. Byrama broke well and was second on the backstretch, tracking 17-1 Royal Tiger, who led by as many as five lengths. Royal Tiger came back to the field on the turn, when More Chocolate moved closer to Byrama.

More Chocolate, who won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita in January, finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Lady of Fifty, the 8-5 favorite. Royal Tiger finished fourth, followed by Open Water and Esentepe. Open Wager won the Grade 2 Marjorie Everett Handicap in May. She was as close as fourth on the turn, but never threatened Byrama.

Byrama has won 5 of 19 starts and $484,750. She was an unlucky second in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland in April when she raced in traffic in the stretch. Byrama was sixth in the Humana Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4, finishing five lengths behind Aubby K.

“She was the moral winner at Keeneland,” Callaghan said. “She was best that day and to win a Grade 1 with her is fantastic.”



JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I learned a long time ago, in the 1990s, anytime you see Gary Stevens on a horse that is more than 3-1 in a stakes race, play as much you can on that horse! - LOL. Gary Stevens did not disappoint in this race, as he brought out a fabulous race out of Byrama! This is the best race I've seen from Byrama in quite awhile. She obviously likes Gary Stevens, she performed her absolute best for him. When she drew off going towards the wire, I knew it was okay to begin to celebrate. Congratulations to Byrama on a commanding, fulsome win, congratulations to Gary Stevens for another great performance this year, and to Byrama's connections for preparing her well for her best performance of the year, so far. She's a very talented horse, and I'm looking forward to great efforts in the future from Byrama. She's on the upswing. She has a good chance to have an excellent year on the track, especially if Mr. Stevens remains her jockey. She seems to like his guidance very much.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Right again Joy! Btw, we got another troll on board, lol!
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
BC f&m
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
“I knew she was the horse to beat, and I put her away,” Stevens said. That's right, "..I put her away..." Who? "I" Aye...
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Byrama is just a consistent and versatile little miss, and her connections were correct that the Vanity was a great spot to roll the dice. The distance and surface were huge questions, but this was about as soft a grade 1 field as you will find. I suppose if any of them deserved a grade 1 it was Byrama, particularly after that tough beat in the Madison at Keeneland. Byrama has hit the board (top 4) in 18 of her 19 career races, among them 14 stakes. She can sprint on turf and synth, was graded placed on turf at 9 furlongs, and is now a grade 1 winner at 9 on synth.
ty More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Byrama's team! Happy to see Gary win--he was an superb announcer & a superb jockey. A true inspiration. Kudos to the trainers/owners who don't discriminate against over 50 unlike the majority of other employers.
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
And an honorable mention should go to Byrama as well for making the whole thing possible for you to congratulate Gary for being superb and inspiring you to honor him. Say, do you happen to know how fast Gary ran today? He sure is getting faster huh?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great race Byrama & Gary Stevens! Gary, I hope you can ride another 10 years. Keep up the great work. I also hope to hear Garrett Gomez is retired for good! Good riddance!
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
Garrett could been carried home on Byrama's back today but it was Gary's turn. She carried me home today too but I didn't ride her. Do you think Garrett was on her today too? She sure make a guy can pack alot home eh?
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Maybe you missed her call while you were out trolling!
Eddie Lazaro More than 1 year ago
Nothing less than a PERFECT RIDE! Go Gary GO!
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
What is a perfect ride for a jockey? a horse? Why of course!
MR More than 1 year ago
You have to give credit when due. For an old fart he's not exactly stinking up the room.
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
It says she's a filly, a British bred. Is that why she doesn't get credit where credit is due? She's not that old n' she only run a few bad races.. Yeah, give credit where credit is due..absolutely
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
How can you not be impressed with Gary Stevens? Retires; goes on to become an excellent Television commentator, and actor-drops it all to return to the saddle and within 7 months wins the Preakness and now the Vanity. Only Piggott can be compared..
Jordan More than 1 year ago
He saw that the jockey colony out here was a shell of what it had been earlier in his career. After shaking his head with disgust watching some of these younger guys, he probably realized that at 60% of his old self he could still school these cats. And he is.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Yes he is. He's out shining them all in SoCal.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful ride by GS! Keep going, Gary! Congrats to Byarama, Gary and all the connections!