11/04/2016 4:59PM

How About Zero wins maiden in Golden State Juvenile Fillies

Justin N. Lane
How About Zero and jockey Mario Gutierrez win the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Santa Anita on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – How About Zero had been well supported at the windows in her first two starts, finishing second in both of them.

Bettors jumped off the bandwagon at the wrong time Friday as How About Zero, equipped with blinkers for the first time, registered a one-length victory in the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes at odds of 10-1 at Santa Anita.

Under Mario Gutierrez, How About Zero settled in fifth position in the early stages of the seven-furlong race and made a three-wide move around the far turn. Straightening away in the stretch, How About Zero made the lead, and despite lugging in during the final furlong, she was able to hold Ms Wakaya at bay near the finish.

The result was a reversal of the order of finish of a Sept. 30 maiden race here, where Ms Wakaya beat How About Zero by 2 1/4 lengths. How About Zero, who had debuted in a stakes at Del Mar, was the 1-2 favorite in that Sept. 30 race.

“She was bet way down last time, and she just came up a little bit empty there,” said winning trainer Doug O’Neill. “Mario mentioned a set of blinkers. The post helped her a ton, the blinkers helped her a ton, and Mario rode her with a lot of confidence.”

How About Zero, a daughter of Square Eddie owned and bred by Paul Reddam, covered the seven furlongs in 1:24.79 and returned $22.60 to win.

Gutierrez said the blinkers helped How About Zero focus more, while O’Neill mentioned that they helped the filly gain her position “without him having to ask her much.”

O’Neill noted that How About Zero “shows that she’s only 2” by ducking in during the stretch run. Gutierrez said that may have been due to the large crowd at the Breeders’ Cup.

“They’re not used to seeing that many people,” Gutierrez said. “She’s a bit shy, but she’ll be much, much better next time.”

Ms Wakaya finished second by 3 1/4 lengths over Isa Firecracker. They were followed by My Pi Romancer, Cash Prize, Start to Finish, Only You Babe, Vai, R Sunday Surprise, and Rocketann.