07/06/2007 11:00PM

Turf no obstacle for Panty Raid


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Name a surface and Panty Raid has conquered it.

After winning an allowance race on Polytrack at Keeneland in April and the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on the dirt at Pimlico in May, Panty Raid won her turf course debut in Saturday’s $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

“You can’t get more versatile than that,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Panty Raid ($13) gave Pletcher his second consecutive win in the Grade 1 American Oaks, which he won last year with eventual champion 3-year-old filly Wait a While.

Panty Raid convinced owner John Greathouse and Pletcher to try the American Oaks with two sharp turf works at Belmont Park in June. Sent off as the fourth choice in the betting, Panty Raid handled the turf like a veteran, winning by three-quarters of a length over Valbenny, the 5-2 favorite. Panty Raid ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.53.

Ridden by jockey Edgar Prado, Panty Raid was near the front throughout, stalking pacesetter Baroness Thatcher, who set a slow pace of 24.94 and 49.51 seconds. Prado moved Panty Road within a half-length of the lead after a mile, and she took command with a three-wide rally on the final turn.

“We didn’t expect a lot of pace,” Pletcher said. “When Edgar looked back in the stretch, that gave me some confidence.”

Panty Raid earned $450,000 and has won 4 of 6 starts and $692,275.

Valbenny and third-place finisher Anamato had trouble in the final half-mile.

Valbenny was in traffic at a pivotal point with three furlongs remaining, according to jockey Alex Solis. “I didn’t know where to go on the turn, but we got through in the stretch so I really don’t want to make any excuses,” he said.

Anamato, the Australian-bred Grade 1 winner, closed from sixth to finish third in the field of nine. Trainer David Hayes said Anamato was hampered by a wide trip and a bump in the final quarter-mile. “We were unsteady on the home turn and that was the difference,” he said.

Anamato had the best result of the four Oaks fillies from other countries. Supposition, an invader from Ireland, had the worst luck, finishing seventh. Her saddled slipped six furlongs from the finish, according to jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Triple Bend: Bilo goes all the way

Three hours after scoring the first Grade 1 win of his career, jockey Joe Talamo, 17, added a second when Bilo pulled an upset in the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap for sprinters. Talamo won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap earlier in the day on Nashoba’s Key.

Bilo ($21.60) set a quick pace, led by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch, and held off a late run from favored Surf Cat to win the seven-furlong Triple Bend by a nose in 1:21.65.

Winning trainer Marty Jones credited Talamo with getting Bilo to the rail, a part of the track that the 7-year-old California-bred gelding prefers.

“When he gets on the rail and gets the lead, his heart just grows,” Jones said. “Joe really made an effort to get him over and get clear.”

Surf Cat, making his first start since May 2006, finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Battle Won in the field of seven.

El Roblar and Raise the Bluff were scratched on the morning of the race. El Roblar was reported to be “stiff and sore” by trainer Richard Mandella on Friday.