04/04/2015 8:26PM

Sheer Pleasure rallies to win Evening Jewel

Shigeki Kikkawa
Sheer Pleasure wins the Evening Jewel Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It only seemed like Sheer Pleasure was all over the place on the turn and in the stretch of Saturday’s $201,000 Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita.

She was 11th on the turn, raced wide through the final sixteenth, and rallied to take the lead in the final strides while sharply drifting to the inside late. The result was what mattered. Sheer Pleasure won the first stakes of her career in the Evening Jewel Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies.

“I hit her twice, and she drifted in pretty good,” jockey Tyler Baze said. “She took off in the last 100 yards.”

The closing kick propelled Sheer Pleasure ($18.20) to the front in time to catch Grand Yodeler, a 23-1 shot who led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. Sheer Pleasure won by three-quarters of a length.

Grand Yodeler held second, 4 1/4 lengths in front of 9-1 Ashley’s Sassy, who was followed by Long Hot Summer, Tribal Express, Jenna’s Faith, Princess Bertrando, Can Can Babe, Easter Fever, Niassa, Desert Thief, and Bad Ju Ju.

Sheer Pleasure ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.09. The result was the opposite of her start in an optional claimer for California-bred fillies on March 6, when she stumbled at the start and unseated jockey Martin Garcia.

Baze worked Sheer Pleasure “a couple of times” in March, he said. He knew she was most likely to race from off the pace and was concerned about how she would handle the dirt kickback.

“After the first eighth, it didn’t bother her,” he said.

Sheer Pleasure was clear in the final furlong, without any kickback from rivals.

The win was worth $110,000 for the Little Red Feather Partnership, R-M Racing, and trainer Phil D’Amato. By Birdonthewire, Sheer Pleasure has won 2 of 4 starts and $147,450. She beat maidens in her debut at Los Alamitos on Dec. 19 and was fourth in the California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf Jan. 24.