01/30/2016 6:24PM

Pacific Heat dominates turf debut in California Cup Oaks

Benoit & Associates
Heavily favored Pacific Heat, ridden by Flavien Prat, wins the California Cup Oaks by 5 1/4 lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Pacific Heat won her turf debut in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks by 5 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita on Saturday. The margin only begins to describe the ease of her victory.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Pacific Heat ($3.80) was always near the front, stalking pacesetter Roo’s Valentine. When challenged by another rival on the backstretch, Pacific Heat was eager, taking the lead from Roo’s Valentine on the turn. The race was over when Pacific Heat turned into the stretch.

“She grabbed the bit and was a little bit aggressive,” Prat said. “She relaxed when she took the lead and was able to breathe. I had a good trip.”

Pacific Heat won with minimal urging. She led by 4 1/4 lengths with a furlong to go and was not urged in the final furlong. Pacific Heat ran a mile on turf in 1:35.75.

Patriotic Diamond, a stakes winner on dirt at Del Mar last September, finished second after challenging Pacific Heat on the backstretch. Patriotic Diamond finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Cheekaboo, a maiden race winner who was supplemented to the race for $25,000. Cheekaboo earned $22,000 for the third-place finish.

Patriotic Diamond, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, raced on turf for the first time in the Cal Cup Oaks in her sixth start.

“I think she ran well,” trainer Patrick Biancone said. “The winner was better. We couldn’t do much about that. [Bejarano] said she liked the turf better than the dirt, which is good for her future.”

Run for Retts finished fourth, followed by Run Like the Boss, Roo’s Valentine, Just Google Me, and Hurricaine Callie.

Pacific Heat has won 3 of 4 starts and earned $250,250. She won the Golden State Juvenile Fillies for California-breds in her second start at Del Mar in late October, but was eighth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12. After the race, Pacific Heat was found to have a throat ulcer, trainer Peter Eurton said.

Pacific Heat was treated frequently through December and had no subsequent difficulties, Eurton said earlier this week.

By Unusual Heat, Pacific Heat races for Sharon Alesia, Mike Burns, and Ciaglia Racing. She was purchased for $175,000 at the Barretts October yearling sale in 2014, the most expensive hip of that sale.