Updated on 09/16/2011 7:44AM

Kalookan Queen captures Santa Monica


ARCADIA, Calif. - There is no debate regarding the top-ranked female sprinter in California.

Kalookan Queen took care of that argument in Saturday's $200,000 * at Santa Anita.

Scoring her fourth stakes win in the last six months, Kalookan Queen ($4) outfinished 19-1 longshot Leading Light by a half-length to record her first win in a Grade 1. Spain, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding older female of 2001, finished third, and was followed by Favorite Funtime for Warren's Whistle.

Kalookan Queen's victory came two years after she finished to Honest Lady in the Santa Monica. Since then, the Santa Monica, the top sprint for females in California, has been a goal for Kalookan Queen's connections - owner Luis Asistio and trainer Bruce Headley.

"Her value probably doubled, maybe tripled," Headley said.

Though there were anxious moments in the final sixteenth, Kalookan Queen was an impressive winner of the seven-furlong Santa Monica before an ontrack crowd of 11,191.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Kalookan Queen dueled with Favorite Funtime through an

opening quarter-mile in 22.11 seconds. Favorite Funtime led along the rail after a half-mile in 44.91 seconds, but Kalookan Queen was always within a half-length.

"I was glad she had something pulling her down the backstretch and didn't have to do all the running," Headley said.

Turning for home, Solis urged Kalookan Queen, who went 2 1-2 lengths clear at the eighth pole. Leading Light closed from fourth to be a late threat, but could not catch the winner, who finished in 1:22.37.

"It got kind of scary for a moment," Headley said. "She started slowing up, but we got it."

Leading Light, who could have been claimed last fall for $50,000, finished two lengths clear of 9-5 Spain, who was third throughout. The Santa Monica was the eighth consecutive loss for Spain, who has earned $2,995,040.

"It took her out of what she does best when you have to chase those fractions," said D. Wayne Lukas said. "She's a better two-turn filly."

Kalookan Queen and Spain will not meet in the near future. Spain will be pointed for the $200,000 Santa Maria Handicap over 1 1-16 miles on Feb. 16.

Kalookan Queen, who has won 8 of 18 starts and $603,834, will return in the $125,000 Las Flores Handicap over six furlongs on Feb. 23. The 6-year-old Kalookan Queen figures to be a standout in that race.

"She's a real healthy mare and I think there is a lot more winning races in her," Headley said.

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