12/05/2015 7:34PM

Roo's Valentine relies on speed to steal Soviet Problem

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Benoit & Associates
Roo's Valentine, ridden by Martin Pedroza, scores by a half-length in the Soviet Problem.

CYPRESS, Calif. - Roo’s Valentine proved too tough to catch on the lead of Saturday’s $100,500 Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos.

The front-running strategy was part of a pre-race plan for jockey Martin Pedroza and trainer Kristin Mulhall.

“She’s a lot more game that way,” Mulhall said. “When she gets dirt in her face, she throws her ears up.”

Pedroza had Roo’s Valentine in front by as much as 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch and in early stretch. Roo’s Valentine was fully extended to hold off a sustained threat from Just Google Me, the 6-5 favorite. Roo’s Valentine ($7) won by a half-length, and ran a mile in 1:37.75.

The Soviet Problem Stakes was restricted to California-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Run for Retts, an 11-1 outsider, finished third, followed by Baby Bea Scattin, Yodelsong, Lucky to Win, and And in the End. Patriotic Diamond, the 9-5 favorite on the morning-line, was withdrawn on Saturday morning in favor of a scheduled start in the $300,000 Starlet Stakes, a Grade 1 at 1 1/16 miles, on Dec. 12.

Roo’s Valentine races for breeder Rustin Kretz. The filly, by Vronsky, has won 2 of 5 starts and earned $116,240. Never worse than third, Roo’s Valentine won her fourth start, a maiden race for California-bred 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar, last month.

Mulhall said Roo’s Valentine will be pointed to the $200,000 California Cup Oaks for statebred 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 30.

“She’s better going longer, but she ran well going short,” Mulhall said. “She seems like she’ll run on anything.”