By Jeremy Balan
Already a two-time winner at the top level against males in the Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes (gr. IT) and Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IT), she bested her own sex on Del Mar’s closing day.
The Temple City filly assumed command late in the turf test and outlasted a closing drive from Roca Rojo to win by a nose. Longshot pacesetter Stays in Vegas was another head back in third, after setting fractions of :23.51, :48.09, and 1:12.68 through six furlongs. Seven furlongs went in 1:23.68 as Stays in Vegas dug in on the inside and Miss Temple City finished off the mile in 1:35.16.
“I had a little bit of a sick feeling in my stomach when they hit the wire,” winning trainer Graham Motion said. “I was a little bit worried at the top of the stretch, as well. I think we were a little too cute with her earlier in the year, trying to get her covered up and take too much of a hold on her. She’s got a lot of natural speed and the key is to get her settled.”
With the outside post in the field of 11, jockey Edgar Prado got Miss Temple City out of the gate well and maneuvered her into the ideal stalking position heading into the first turn.
“The trick with her is to get her to settle early,” Prado said. “We got a good spot early and in the first eighth of a mile, she was relaxed. She was just going easy. We turned for home and I asked, and she was there. I had some extra and I needed it. She’s a special horse.”
It was the third graded stakes win for Motion during the short Del Mar meet, following Ring Weekend‘s victory in the Seabiscuit Handicap (gr. IIT) and Journey Home‘s score in the Jimmy Durante (gr. IIIT).
“It’s really gratifying to end the year this way,” Motion said of Miss Temple City’s campaign. “I hated to see her getting beat all the time. She had a rough patch in the summer. Hopefully we’ll be here at this time next year.”
As for Roca Rojo, jockey Florent Geroux said a moment of hesitation may have cost her the victory.
“She hesitated on me—just for a second,” Geroux said. “Then she picked it up and went. But that little bit might have cost us the race. She ran great, but I think we could have won today.”
Bred in Kentucky, out of the Artax mare Glittering Tax, Miss Temple City now has a 6-3-2 record from 16 starts and $1,453,038 in earnings for owners The Club Racing, Needle In A Haystack, and Sagamore Farm.