07/05/2004 12:00AM

Souvenir Gift wins Landaluce Stakes


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Souvenir Gift provided co-owners Gregory Unruh and trainer Sam Semkin with an excuse for a rowdy celebration after scoring a mild upset victory in Monday's $106,800 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Cheered on by a large and vocal contingent of the owners' friends and family, Souvenir Gift rallied on the rail in the final furlong to win the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes by 1 1-4 lengths over Bella Banissa. My Miss Storm Cat, the 2-5 favorite, finished third in the field of 11 2-year-old fillies.

Souvenir Gift ($10.20) ran six furlongs in 1:09.75.

The victory marked the first graded stakes win for Unruh, a 34-year-old commodities broker, and Semkin, partners who bought the filly for $25,000 last October at the Barretts Yearling Sale.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Souvenir Gift was third behind pacesetters Kitty and Boo and Bella Banissa on the backstretch. She moved around Kitty and Boo on the turn and showed a remarkable kick to catch Bella Banissa in the final furlong.

"I wanted to see what she could do" in the stretch," Semkin said. "I knew she could overcome adversity."

My Miss Storm Cat, a 10-length winner of a maiden race in her only start on May 29, closed from fifth after being bumped at the start. She never made the front and finished a nose behind Bella Banissa.

Souvenir Gift is unbeaten in three starts, including a win in the minor Cinderella Stakes last month. She has earned $131,760.