04/30/2005 11:00PM

Short Route wins Railbird Stakes

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BENOIT PHOTO
Short Route and jockey Patrick Valenzuela, outside, fly by Inspiring and David Flores to take victory in the Grade III, $100,000 Railbird Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Short Route, who battled bruised feet earlier this year, won her graded stakes debut in Sunday's $109,700 at Hollywood Park, wearing down an unlucky Inspiring in the final furlong.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Short Route finished seven furlongs in 1:22.99. The victory marked her first stakes win since the Cover Gal for state-breds last September and her first start since she finished seventh in the Sunshine Millions Oaks last January. Both races were run at Santa Anita.

Trainer Joe Herrick said Short Route emerged from the Sunshine Millions Oaks with a bruised foot.

"She's grown up, she's more physically mature," Herrick said. "She's put on about 100 pounds of muscle."

In the Railbird, Short Route ($11) was third on the backstretch, tracking Inspiring and Donna's Doll who set early fractions of 21.61 and 44 seconds. After Donna's Doll faded on the turn, Inspiring led by a length. Short Route steadily closed ground to reach the front in the final yards.

Owned by Joe Herrick's parents, Donna and Bill, Short Route has won 3 of 7 starts and $172,815.

Inspiring finished 1 1-4 lengths in front of Off the Richter in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies. Inspiring, who won the Sorrento Stakes last summer at Del Mar, was making her second start of the year, having finished third in the Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita last month.