12/07/2014 8:51PM

My Fiona displays grit winning Soviet Problem

Benoit & Associates
My Fiona, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, prevails by a half-length in the Soviet Problem.

CYPRESS, Calif. - The only time that My Fiona got away from her rivals in Sunday’s $200,250 Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos was when she was walked into the winner’s circle.

The other five California-bred 2-year-old fillies were not invited.

My Fiona faced pressure while leading on the first turn of the one-mile race, was second on the backstretch while racing on inside, and retook the lead in the stretch to win by a half-length over 5-2 Heat the Rocks. My Fiona ($3.60) was timed in 1:37.46, recording her second consecutive stakes win.

“She showed me a lot of heart and how good she is,” trainer Walther Solis said. “She got pressure from the beginning to the end and she came through. This was not an easy race. It was a small field, but not an easy race.”

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, his third winner of the day, My Fiona led for the first time in her six-race career, having previously raced from off the pace. My Fiona was part of a pace battle with Heat the Rocks and Tribal Express through early fractions of 22.98 seconds and 46.35 for the first half-mile.

My Fiona was always in the first two and relinquished the lead to Heat the Rocks by a half-length with a quarter-mile remaining, at the top of the stretch. The two were quickly side-by-side with My Fiona taking the lead before the eighth pole. The win left Bejarano impressed.

“I had a lot of pressure from the beginning,” Bejarano said. “I tried to take a hold. At the three-eighths pole, I knew [Heat the Rocks] was the one to beat. I gave her a little breather and she responded in the stretch.”

Heat the Rocks, who made her stakes debut in the Soviet Problem, finished a half-length in front of Niassa, who was followed by Tribal Express and Easter Fever. Princess Bertrando was pulled up in the stretch but was walked back to the stables.

My Fiona has emerged as the leading California-bred 2-year-old filly this year, winning three stakes. She won the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes at Del Mar in July, finished second in the Generous Portion Stakes to Long Hot Summer at Del Mar in August, and won the Golden State Juvenile Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 31.

Owned by breeder Terry Lovingier in partnership with Tom Beckerle and Amanda Navarro, My Fiona, by Ghostzapper, has won 4 of 6 starts and $358,100.