12/26/2010 7:35PM

Switch finds La Brea company to her liking

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Benoit & Associates
Switch gave jockey Joel Rosario and trainer John Sadler their first of three stakes wins Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - In her previous Grade 1 races, Switch had been defeated by just four horses, an all-star lineup of Blind Luck, Evening Jewel, Dubai Majesty, and, oh yes, Zenyatta. Free from the shadow of those four on Sunday at Santa Anita, Switch had her time to shine. She overpowered nine rival 3-year-old fillies when rolling to a four-length victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 La Brea Stakes, the first of two Grade 1 races on the opening-day card.

Switch ($4.40), the favorite, was rated just behind the early leaders, then seized command when moving around the final turn and opened a commanding lead at the top of the stretch. She cruised home, while Malibu Pier rallied for second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Shotgun Gulch. Always a Princess, the second choice, was fourth, with third-choice Champagne d’Oro sixth in the field of 10.

Switch was timed in 1:20.33 for seven furlongs over a main track that was producing fast times all afternoon in its first day of use for racing.

“She’s a nice filly,” said jockey Joel Rosario, who has ridden Switch to three of her four victories. “She can run short. She can run long. Nice horses like that, they can do whatever.

“She’s a one-paced horse, with long strides. When I was passing the five-sixteenths pole, I got a really good trip inside. She won easy.”

Switch won the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks during the summer, but was best known for giving Zenyatta a scare when finishing second in the Lady’s Secret Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park in October. In her last start, she was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to Dubai Majesty. That was her only previous race going seven furlongs on dirt, the conditions she faced Sunday.

John Sadler trains Switch for the CRK Stable of Lee Searing. Sadler was ill on Sunday, so assistant Larry Benavidez saddled her.

Switch, a daughter of Quiet American, has now won four times in 11 starts, and the $150,000 winner’s share brought her career total to $632,600. The Searings purchased her for $150,000 as a yearling at Keeneland.