10/10/2016 7:02PM

Miss Southern Miss relishes switch to turf, wins Surfer Girl Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Miss Southern Miss, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, wins the Surfer Girl Stakes by 2 1/2 lenghts Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The puzzle surrounding losses by Miss Southern Miss in recent stakes has been solved.

She needs a turf course.

After two disappointing races on dirt at Del Mar in August and September, Miss Southern Miss cruised to her first stakes win in Monday’s $102,070 Surfer Girl Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on turf.

“We just found her number,” jockey Kent Desormeaux said.

Trained by Kent’s brother, Keith, Miss Southern Miss ran a mile in 1:35.08. The victory left the brothers Desormeaux anxious to start Miss Southern Miss in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf here on Nov. 4.

Miss Southern Miss is certainly a contender for that race following her performance against 10 rivals in the Surfer Girl Stakes. Miss Southern Miss closed from last with a wide rally to reach the front in the final furlong. Kent Desormeaux eased down on Miss Southern Miss in the last sixteenth and still won by 2 1/2 lengths over 7-2 Happy Mesa.

The rally did not surprise her rider.

“She’s been doing that in the morning,” he said.

La Force, an import from Italy, finished third at 20-1. Con Te Partiro, the 9-5 favorite and a sprint-stakes winner on turf at Saratoga in August, finished fourth, followed by Miss Sugars, Simmy’s Temple, Auntjenn, Deer Valley, Shy, Lady Beware, and Doowop Shedoo.

Miss Southern Miss, by More Than Ready, has won 2 of 5 starts and earned $164,600 for owner Pete Cantrell. She was second in the Landaluce Stakes at Santa Anita in July and the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar in August before finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3. The Sorrento and Debutante were disappointing performances for Kent and Keith Desormeaux.

“We’ve always been fond of her,” Kent Desormeaux said. “She got behind horses on dirt, and the spray set her off. With the grass, she cantered around.  She never took a deep breath. I guess she needs the grass under her feet.”