01/02/2011 5:54PM

Unzip Me leads wire to wire in Monrovia

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BENOIT PHOTO
Rafael Bejarano guides Unzip Me to victory in the Monrovia Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif.-Unzip Me won 6 of 8 starts and $462,033 in 2010, a career-best season.

Already this year, she is ahead of that pace. Unzip Me won her 2011 debut in Sunday’s $100,000 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita. Last year, she did not win her first stakes until March, in her second start.

There was little suspense in the Monrovia Stakes, which was run on the hillside turf course. Unzip Me led throughout and won by 1 1/4 lengths. Sent off favored, Unzip Me ($3.40) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.72 under jockey Rafael Bejarano.

The win left trainer Marty Jones relieved since Unzip Me, along with a majority of the racehorses in Southern California, had missed training time because of wet weather in late December.

“Apart from missing some time going into the race, I felt pretty good,” Jones said. “She missed a work. She acted great when the weather got better.”

Broken Dreams, third early, closed to finish second, a half-length in front of 10-1 Reba is Tops. Evening Jewel, the winner of two Grade 1 races last year, and the third-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, could only finish fifth in the field of six fillies and mares. She never threatened Unzip Me.

“She was flat,” trainer Jim Cassidy said of Evening Jewel. “Maybe a race will wake her up. It was her first race down the hill. I’m looking for an excuse, but I don’t have any.”

The Monrovia was Unzip Me’s first start since a third against males in the BC Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. Owned by a partnership that includes breeders John Harris and Don Valpredo, Unzip Me, 5, has won 10 of 17 starts and $643,513 in her career.

The Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes was the sixth stakes win for the mare, who is a California-bred by City Zip.