01/09/2011 6:52PM

May Day Rose gets ‘paid workout’ in Santa Ysabel

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Benoit & Associates
May Day Rose, with Rafael Bejarano up, scores a 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday's Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – May Day Rose didn’t exactly win as a 1-20 shot should, but she managed to defeat two seemingly overmatched rivals as the heavy favorite in the Grade 3, $92,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.

Only five were entered in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, and then both Plum Pretty and Zazu were scratched the morning of the race, leaving only three starters, with May Day Rose ($2.10) the controlling speed. She led from start to finish, as expected, but had to work much harder than expected to hold off 9-1 Bluegrass Chatter and win by 1 1/4 lengths. Scarlet Starlet, at 24-1, was another neck back in third.

“She got tired a little bit, so I had to hit her a couple of times, and she kept going,” winning jockey Rafael Bejarano said.

May Day Rose was timed in 1:42.81 on the fast main track following fractions of 23.44 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 47.47 for a half-mile, and 1:11.48 for six furlongs. Bob Baffert trains May Day Rose for Kaleem Shah.

“A paid workout,” Baffert said as May Day Rose was brought into the winner’s circle.

The win was the third in five starts for May Day Rose, a daughter of Rockport Harbor. She captured the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 7 and then most recently was fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. In the nearly four weeks since that race, she had worked just once.

“She missed a work during the rain,” Baffert said. “I was hoping her class would carry her through. It did.”