02/11/2008 1:00AM

Patience pays off for Double Trouble


ARCADIA, Calif. - In a curiously run race where horses, or jockeys, lacked patience, Double Trouble and jockey Rafael Bejarano were simpatico. They watched two of their rivals get rank early, and another make a premature move, then pounced with the last run to take the Grade 1, $245,000 Santa Maria Handicap, the first stakes run Saturday on Santa Anita's renovated synthetic surface.

Double Trouble ($8.20) roared past her rivals at the top of the stretch and went on to a 4 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race. Tough Tiz's Sis outfinished Somethinaboutlaura by 1 3/4 lengths for second. Zardana, the early pacesetter, faded to finish last in the field of four.

Six were entered in the Santa Maria, but there were two scratches. Dawn After Dawn was withdrawn in order to run Sunday in the La Canada Stakes. Sweet Belle was scratched by the track veterinarian.

Double Trouble was timed in 1:42.46 over a track that played more like a traditional dirt track, than the supersonic speedway that Santa Anita had become in recent weeks.

Zardana, starting from the outside post, went for the lead, but was fighting jockey Alex Solis. Tough Tiz's Sis, the 1-2 favorite, also refused to cooperate with the rating tactics of Victor Espinoza. Those two battled for the early lead, and while the fractions - 24.27 and 48.58 seconds - were not fast, neither filly was settled.

Then, as the field near the far turn, Somethinaboutlaura moved three-wide to go for the lead under David Flores. Bejarano watched the scene unfold in front of him, and waited with Double Trouble.

"When I saw all three fighting, it was just what I needed," he said.

Double Trouble, 5, is a Brazilian-bred daughter of Wild Event owned by Patricia Bozzano. She has won 4 of 9 starts in this country, and is 2 for 2 on synthetic surfaces for trainer Bobby Frankel. She was a Group 2 winner in Brazil. This was her first graded stakes win in the United States.

Las Virgenes: Bejarano is Golden

Bejarano swept the day's Grade 1 stakes by guiding favored Golden Doc A to a late-running victory in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Golden Doc A ($5.20) ran down pacesetter Lovely Isle inside the final sixteenth and pulled away late to win by one length, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:35.86. Tasha's Miracle was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

The victory was the first in a Grade 1 race for trainer Barry Abrams since the 1997 Del Mar Oaks with Famous Digger. Abrams has trained Golden Doc A throughout her career, but this was her first start since being privately purchased for owner Ron McCauley by bloodstock agent Eugenio Colombo.

Golden Doc A, by Unusual Heat, has won three times in 10 starts. This was her first graded stakes win.