Scherzinger proved she was up to the task of taking on stakes-caliber fillies for the first time in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Monica S. (G2) at Santa Anita Park, overcoming a tough trip to win the seven furlong contest by one length.
Coming off a handy second-level allowance score three weeks ago, her Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer entered the 4-year-old Tiz Wonderful filly in the Santa Monica. Breaking very sharply, Scherzinger went right to the front, then was content to give up the lead after a quarter mile. Mike Smith had to find some room coming into the stretch, easing his filly to the outside, then taking over at the sixteenth pole to prevail in a drive.
The final time was 1:22 flat on a fast track.
“It was a great job by Mike Smith,” said Hollendorfer. “We didn’t really expect to be out on the front end, but he used his own judgment and that’s fine with us. We talked it over (running in her first stakes race) with Mike and he thought she deserved a shot to run the seven furlongs . . . We didn’t know if we could beat Teddy’s Promise (the 7-5 favorite who wound up third), but we got lucky, got through, and beat her.”
The Santa Monica was Scherzinger's fourth win in her last five starts. Her overall record stands at 4-1-1 from seven outings. She has earned $245,374 for a partnership that includes her trainer, Mark DeDomenico, Jason Litt, and Alex Solis II.
Tiz Wonderful, a leading second-crop sire of 2013 with four graded stakes horses to date,stands this year at Spendthrift for $7,500 LFS&N.