Updated on 09/15/2011 1:41PM

Jeweled Pirate must quickly adapt to change

Benoit & Associates
Jeweled Pirate switches surfaces and shortens up for the Survive.

ARCADIA, Calif. - From 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile, Jeweled Pirate has proven in the last year that she is among the top California-bred fillies and mares, scoring wins in two turf stakes.

Wednesday, the 5-year-old Jeweled Pirate tries a new distance and surface as the likely favorite in the $100,000 Survive Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita.

Her trainer, Ray Bell, is optimistic that she can handle the shorter trip and surface in her first start since winning the California Cup Distaff on the hillside turf course on Nov. 3.

"Sometimes the 5 1/2 races have a fast pace, and it sets up well for someone to come from off of it," Bell said. "I freshened her after she won going down the hill."

The Survive is a restricted stakes for California-bred fillies and mares who have not won a first-place prize of $50,000 twice since March 1. In a field of nine, Jeweled Pirate and Phaenna are the only stakes winners from 2001.

Phaenna, who was fifth in the 2001 Survive, won the Vacaville Stakes over six furlongs at the Solano County Fair in northern California last July. She is expected to contest the pace along with Secret Dream, an ex-claimer, and Vida Dancer, who set the pace in the Cal Cup Distaff but faded to finish 10th.

A fast pace from that trio will help Jeweled Pirate, but there are others who can close. Song of Summer and Filigree, who was second in the 2001 Survive, could be a late factor with clean trips.

Jeweled Pirate will be ridden by Chris McCarron and drew the rail. As a 3-year-old, Jeweled Pirate won twice on dirt - a maiden race and an allowance race. Wednesday's race is her first start in a stakes race on dirt.

Owned by Robert and Betty Irvin, Jeweled Pirate is lightly raced, having won 5 of 11 starts and $311,210. After winning the Pro or Con Handicap over a mile on turf last February, she was given an eight-month break.

Following a fourth in an allowance race in October, Jeweled Pirate won the 14-runner Distaff Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths as the favorite.

"They were flying down the hill and she was comfortable behind them," Bell said. "Chris was waiting to pull the trigger and he did at the top of the stretch."

Wednesday, the same turn of foot could be the key to victory.

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