09/15/2016 12:50PM

Sprint could be the start of something big for Perfect Pic


CYPRESS, Calif. – Perfect Pic could have a rapid career ascension in the coming weeks.

The flashy winner of a maiden race in her debut at Del Mar on Aug. 26, Perfect Pic will be favored to win an optional claimer at six furlongs at Los Alamitos on Saturday. A win could lead to a start in the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1.

The Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes is a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 and is expected to draw the champions Beholder and Stellar Wind. Perfect Pic will start in the Zenyatta only if she wins well on Saturday, trainer Jim Cassidy said.

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“I need to see her do her thing against winners,” Cassidy said. “That would be the key. Nothing seems to bother the filly.

“We’d like to stretch her out. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing what we’re doing now.”

Owned by Deron Pearson, Perfect Pic won her debut at six furlongs by 10 1/4 lengths. She fought for the early lead, was clear entering the stretch, and led by five lengths with a furlong to go. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Perfect Pic, a 3-year-old by Candy Ride, was purchased for $110,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale. Her career debut was postponed because of shin and tibia issues, Cassidy said.

Perfect Pic drew the rail in Saturday’s optional claimer. She broke from the inside post at Del Mar. Santiago Gonzalez rode Perfect Pic at Del Mar and has the mount on Saturday.

“The only problem last time was we were concerned about the 1 hole,” Cassidy said. “Santiago keeps telling me she wants to go farther. I said, ‘I know that.’ ”

Perfect Pic is part of a field of eight. The optional claimer will be the first start for Wild at Heart since she was third in an optional claimer at Santa Anita in March. Wild at Heart was third behind Stellar Wind in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March 2015, her final start that season.