02/07/2015 8:30PM

Sharla Rae overtakes Glory in California Oaks


Sharla Rae scored her third career stakes victory, running down favored Glory late to win the $51,615 California Oaks by a neck at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Glory, coming off an impressive victory in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita, was the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race. She set a comfortable pace, leading second-choice Niassa.

Sharla Rae ($10), who won the Pike Place Dancer here in October after having won the Barrett’s Debutante at Los Alamitos, settled nicely in mid-pack in the early stages of the race.

Glory set honest fractions for the track, going evenly through fractions of 23.95 seconds, 48.07, and 1:12.50 under Russell Baze.

As Niassa began to tire leaving the quarter pole, Sharla Rae, who had run in three graded stakes, began to move up as Silvio Amador shifted out to the three-path for room.

Although Glory dug in, the more experienced Sharla Rae kept the pressure on before inching ahead in the final strides.

She was time 1:44.46 in winning the 1 1/16-mile race. Star Via Strada was third, 2 1/4 lengths behind her stablemate with Niassa running fourth.

“As soon as we broke, I knew I had a lot of horse,” said Amador. “I was able to get into a good position right away.

“She started to drift in a little bit in the stretch, but as soon as I switched the stick to my left hand, she straightened out and finished strong. She’s a nice filly.”

Baze offered no excuses for Glory.

“She just got a little tired late,” he said. “It was her first time going around turns, and she never quit on me. She kept trying and just didn’t have enough left. I’m pretty proud of the way she ran. She’s a genuine filly and nice to ride.”

The victory, worth $30,400, was the fourth in eight starts for Sharla Rae, an Afleet Alex filly who was a $22,000 yearling purchase for W. C. Racing. The Kentucky-bred Sharla Rae, trained by Doug O’Neill, now has career earnings of $169,595.