12/28/2014 7:24PM

Improving Harlington's Rose wins Kalookan Queen

Benoit Photo
Harlington's Rose wins the Kalookan Queen Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths Sunday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Harlington’s Rose rallied from off the pace to win her first stakes in Sunday’s $95,850 Kalookan Queen Stakes for female sprinters at Santa Anita, giving trainer Steve Knapp his first stakes win since the summer of 2012.

The 3-year-old Harlington’s Rose has been a filly Knapp has favored for 18 months, often racing her in California-bred stakes. The Kalookan Queen Stakes, against open company, was Harlington’s Rose’s eighth appearance in a stakes in her 18th career start. She was second in the Barretts Debutante Stakes at Fairplex Park in September 2013 and second in the Evening Jewel Stakes here last April.

The Kalookan Queen Stakes unfolded in Harlington’s Rose’s favor. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Harlington’s Rose ($37.60) closed from fifth in a field of eight to win by 1 1/4 lengths over the 5-2 Tribal Gal.

“I thought it was perfect,” Knapp said her of trip.

Harlington’s Rose ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.48.

Doinghardtimeagain, the winner of the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos in July, finished third, followed by Master the Blues, Awesome Baby, Global Hottie, Assure, and Lexington Pearl. Awesome Baby was the 6-5 favorite in her first start since winning the Sunland Park Oaks last March. She raced on the lead to early stretch when she faded from contention, losing by 4 3/4 lengths.

Knapp said Harlington’s Rose has changed in the last year. Once a filly who ran near the front, she has developed into a closer in recent months.

“When she was 2 and earlier at 3, she was a runoff, and we kept working with her to settle behind horses,” Knapp said. “I think it made her a better racehorse.”

For Knapp, Harlington’s Rose was his first stakes win since Strong Wind won the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar in August 2012.

Harlington’s Rose, by Harlington, races for the partnership of Thomas Halasz, Ryan Johnson, Paul Newhart, and Martha Miller. Harlington’s Rose has earned $277,680.