02/12/2017 6:36PM

Miss Sunset rebounds from dud to win Sweet Life Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Miss Sunset, under Edwin Maldonado, wins the Sweet Life by a half-length.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Miss Sunset lost her unbeaten record when she trailed home last of six in an optional claimer in the mud at Santa Anita on Jan. 13.

The race has largely been forgotten. Miss Sunset ($14.40) rebounded on Sunday to win her stakes debut on turf in the $91,935 Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside course.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Miss Sunset led throughout and won by a half-length over Miss Sugars, the 2-1 favorite. For Maldonado, the Sweet Life was his fourth win of the winter-spring meeting. He was out of action for nearly four months after sustaining rib injuries in a spill during morning training at Del Mar on Labor Day weekend.

Maldonado returned to riding in late December. The Sweet Life was his first stakes win since California Diamond in the Santa Anita Juvenile here last July.

In the Sweet Life, Miss Sunset led narrowly over Hot in the City on the hillside, after a quarter-mile in 21.81 seconds. She led by two lengths when the field neared the crossover to the main oval and by a length over Miss Sugars with a furlong to go.

Miss Sunset was timed in 1:13.09 on a course rated “good” after rain on Friday and early Saturday.

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Miss Sugars, who won the Blue Norther Stakes on Dec. 29, finished a length in front of 20-1 Go On Mary.

Madam Dancealot was fourth, followed by Gogoula, Hot in the City, Sandy’s Surprise, and Mo’vette.

Miss Sunset, who is by Into Mischief, is owned by breeders Alan Klein and Phil Lebherz and trained by Jeff Bonde. Miss Sunset won her first two starts against California-breds at Del Mar last summer – a maiden race and the Generous Portion Stakes at six furlongs on Aug. 27. She missed races last fall after becoming cast in her stall after being transferred from Del Mar to Santa Anita, Bonde said last month.

Bonde said Miss Sunset lost all chance in the January optional claimer when she jumped foot tracks early in a race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

A winner of 3 of 4 starts and $183,585, Miss Sunset could reappear in the $75,000 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf here on March 11.

“She has talent,” Bonde said. “We’ll let her tell us how far she can go.”