05/11/2013 6:29PM

Hollywood Park: Charlie Em wins Senorita Stakes in U.S. debut

Benoit & Associates
Charlie Em, with Garrett Gomez up, beats Scarlet Strike by a head in the Senorita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Charlie Em won a claimer in Wolverhampton, England, last August. Saturday, she won her American debut in a much fancier race, the $100,500 Senorita Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Charlie Em had an ideal trip in the Grade 3 Senorita, winning the one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies by a head over Scarlet Strike, the 3-5 favorite. Scarlet Strike was last of eight early, and closed well with a wide rally to just miss winning her second consecutive race.

Scarlet Strike won the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita last month. Saturday, she was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who won the 3,000th race of his career earlier on the program.

Charlie Em ($21.40) was timed in 1:35.18. She stalked pacesetter Disko Dasko through opening fractions of 23.50 and 47.01 seconds before moving alongside the leader on the turn. Charlie Em took the lead in early stretch and was fully extended to win.

“It was a perfect trip and a perfect ride,” said winning trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Scarlet Strike finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of 11-1 Kyriaki, who was followed by Need You Now, Lilbourne Eliza, Disko Dasko, and Showgirl Form. Sweet Red Cat was scratched on Saturday morning.

Charlie Em, a filly by the Green Desert stallion Kheleyf, has won 4 of 9 starts and $75,678. She had career earnings of $15,678 prior to Saturday’s race.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Charlie Em was bought privately last fall.

Last August, Charlie Em was claimed for approximately $17,000 after winning a claiming race at Wolverhampton. Charlie Em made two more starts in Europe last fall, including a third in a minor stakes at Hannover, Germany, before she was acquired by Eclipse.

“It took her a little while to come around,” Gallagher said. “In the last five weeks, she got rid of her winter coat. Everything worked out.”