Updated on 09/17/2011 1:02PM

Tropical Blossom wins first stakes in Star Ball

Vassar Photography
Tropical Blossom (3) wins the $64,400 Star Ball Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

ALBANY, Calif. - Tropical Blossom ($7.40), who had been chasing Azeri and Got Koko in Southern California, made a strong rail move in the lane to capture her first stakes victory in winning the $64,400 Star Ball Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

The only runner in the field of eight fillies and mares without a stakes victory, Tropical Blossom was far back early and was last after the opening half mile as Amber Hills cut out an honest pace in the 1 1/16-mile race. She moved up on the inside on the second turn and rallied strongly along the rail to outfinish Bartok's Blithe and Lindsay Jean.

She beat Bartok's Blithe, who was far back beside her through the first six furlongs, by one-half length in 1:42.66. Lindsay Jean was another three-quarters of a length back in third.

"I couldn't believe she was 5-to-2," said winning trainer Julio Canani, who watched the race from Southern California. "I knew there would be some pace, and the kid (Chance Rollins) gave her a great ride.

"She's a nice filly and has been running against the best. She's got a good pedigree and was stakes placed. We wanted to get her a stakes win. We may send her back east."

Tropical Blossom earned $33,800 for her third victory in 11 starts, lifting her career earnings to $201,096.