03/10/2013 8:09PM

Santa Anita: Rumor keeps Mandella hot with Las Flores score

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Benoit & Associates
Rumor (left), ridden by Mike Smith, pulls away from favored Teddy's Promise to win the Grade 3 Las Flores on Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Richard Mandella continued to play a hot hand at Santa Anita on Sunday when he sent out Rumor for a mild upset win in the Grade 3, $100,250 Las Flores Stakes for female sprinters, giving the Hall of Fame trainer his seventh win out of his last nine runners.

Always quick with a quip, Mandella said his recent success was because “some of these young guys thought I was buried, but I thought I’d show them.”

Rumor, finally earning her first stakes win, added to a strike rate of nearly 33 percent this meet for Mandella.

Rumor ($15), the third choice in a field of six, was fifth during the early going under Mike Smith, gradually advanced on the far turn, collared favored Teddy’s Promise inside the furlong pole and prevailed by a half-length in 1:15.44 for 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track.

It was another 6 1/2 lengths back to Shumoos, who was third. She was followed, in order, by Sugarinthemorning, Belle of the Hall, and Distracting.

“She ran great. She’s got a heart of gold,” said Mandella, who trains Rumor for Ramona Bass, Adele Dilschneider, and the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm. “If she doesn’t run, there’s usually some sort of problem – sore feet, sore throat.”

In her prior race, Rumor was seventh of 11 in the Wishing Well Stakes on the hillside turf course on Feb. 10. That was her first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

“It didn’t look like she extended herself down the hill,” Mandella said.

Rumor, 5, has now won six times in 14 starts, and the $60,000 first prize on Sunday brought her bankroll to $384,438.