12/30/2012 8:55PM

Santa Anita: Qaraaba makes going last to first look easy in Frankel

Benoit & Associates
The European import Qaraaba, ridden by Julien Leparoux, wins her graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Robert Frankel.

ARCADIA, Calif .- For a closer, Qaraaba’s wins have little drama.

She closed from last to win her U.S. debut in an optional claimer by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 15. In her graded stakes debut in Sunday’s $150,000 Robert Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita, Qaraaba rallied from last of nine to win the Grade 3 race by 1 1/4 lengths with something in reserve.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Qaraaba ($7.20) finished 1 1/8 miles on a good turf course in 1:49.20.

“She put me in the race when I asked her to,” Leparoux said.  “At Hollywood, she won so easily and today she won pretty easy, too. As long as she relaxes, she has a nice kick at the end.”

Qaraaba trailed pacesetter Imperialistic Diva by 6 1/2 lengths in the first half-mile, through fractions of 24.41 and 49.69 seconds. Leparoux did not ask Qaraaba for a run until the end of the backstretch. Moving between fillies on the turn, and four-wide into the stretch, Qaraaba was within 2 1/2 lengths of leader More Chocolate at the eighth pole and took the lead in the final sixteenth.

“When she gets going, she has that great stride,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.

Tiz Flirtatious, the 7-5 favorite who was second in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, was near the front in the final furlong, and may have led briefly. She held second, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of More Chocolate.

Halo Dolly finished fourth, followed by I Dazzle, Camelia Rose, Imperialistic Diva, Hard to Resist, and Vivo Per Lei.

Callaghan trains Qaraaba for Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor. Callaghan also started Camelia Rose and Imperialistic Diva in the Frankel, named for the late Hall of Fame trainer.

Qaraaba, 5, has won 7 of 15 starts and $171,119. In England in 2012, she won four races, all in minor handicaps.

Callaghan said that Qaraaba may have two more starts at the winter-spring meeting – the $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf on March 24 and the $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on April 20.


Jeffrey Mathews More than 1 year ago
lest we not forget that shoemaker,whittingham,mabee,etc all have grade 1's named n their honor & deservedly so but ROBERT J FRANKEL a grade 3!!! cmon socal bury the hatchett show some class honor&give the gr8 FRANKEL his due, grade 1 turf race! PLEASE
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
She's still got a lot of 'spit and vinegar' left. :)
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Looked too easy. Let us see what she looks like when the track is firm and hard.
Jeffrey Mathews More than 1 year ago
is it just me that feels paying tribute 2 bobby frankel w/grade3 race is flat-out wrong & disrespectful 2 one of the best conditioners of our generation? frankel deserves 1 of our most prestigious grade 1 turf race to be renamed after him, juddmonte paid proper respect by naming arguably the greatest turf miler of all-time after the GREAT BOBBY FRANKEL!! R.I.P. bobby some of us will never forget your greatness & real down 2 earth guy also.
Mj West More than 1 year ago
I completely agree. Give the man the honor he deserves. Grade 1.
Trina Nagele More than 1 year ago
So true, Jeffrey! You have perfectly expressed what so many are thinking.
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
Minor handicaps in England to whipping Grade 1 here. Keep it up Simon , must have crazy rich connections. wow. Aidian Obrian who??
Dave More than 1 year ago
Grade 3
AROL ABEL More than 1 year ago
Nice horse with really bright US future perfect jock for her...reminds me of Forever Together in 2008 with same rider...Go Leppy Go.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
She's got that late kick - and I ain't gonna mention no names.