Fashion Plate and Gary Stevens winning the 2014 Las Virgenes Stakes (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
Old Fashioned’s first crop of 3-year-olds saw its first Grade 1 winner on Saturday when the improving filly, Fashion Plate won the Las Virgenes Stakes.
By winning the Las Virgenes by ½ length over favored Streaming, Fashion Plate proved breaking her maiden by 6 ½ lengths in her third start wasn’t a fluke. The auspicious victress’ record now consists of four starts, two wins, and one third place performance.
The Simon Callaghan-trainee came out for her career debut in a 5 ½-furlong contest last August and crossed the finish line last in the seven-horse field. She improved off that effort four months later in her next start. Fashion Plate finished third in a six-horse field at Betfair Hollywood Park, where the she was defeated by 5 1/4 lengths.
Owned by racing industry heavyweights Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor, Fashion Plate earned her first career victory later in December when she faced seven other fillies in a six-furlong race at Santa Anita. Fashion Plate’s first victory was simple and distinct: she took the lead quickly and established a three-length advantage through a half-mile in a blistering :44.89.
She completed the race with an runaway 6 ½-length score and a winning time of 1:09.27. Bettors made Fashion Plate with jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard their second choice, and she returned $7.20 for a $2 win bet.
She had a month-long break until her season debut in 2014, when she made the massive step up to Grade 1 company in the Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.
With Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens aboard for the first time, Fashion Plate gave an effort similar to her most recent performance. With an inside trip, she led her six opponents from the start but never established as sizable a lead as in her maiden-breaking win.
She showed more control in posting slower fractions of :23.19 for the opening quarter-mile and :46.26 for the half-mile. Fashion Plate passed the final post with a half-length advantage over Streaming and completed the one-mile event was 1:37.22.
After the race, Stevens commented on her amiable racing style.
“She’s a very cooperative filly," he said. "You never know first time going long. I will say, the other day another horse broke in on her during a work and it showed me a lot about her.
“She broke very relaxed and I didn’t want to get her rolling [too early]. She was content to stay inside of Rafael [Bejarano, on Taste Like Candy] around the first turn and at the three-quarter pole I knew [the pace] wasn’t good for either one of us, even though she was relaxed, so I let her out a notch and she did what I wanted her to do.”
Her trainer, Simon Callaghan, also was pleased with the performance.
“When they came to her, she really dug in and tried real hard,” Callaghan said. “She’s a special filly. It means a lot to win this race. Gary put up a great ride. She went nice fractions. She went pretty quick and I think that was a testament to her courage and ability that she was able to do that and sustain the run. We’ll look at the Santa Anita Oaks and if she does well there, maybe we’ll take her to Kentucky [for the Oaks].”