Oakcrest Stable’s Bert’s Melody shook off a late challenge from Singing Kitty and went on to an impressive one length victory as the 9-5 favorite in Saturday’s $125,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for older fillies and mares bred or sired in California. Ridden by Brice Blanc and trained by Sean McCarthy, the 5-year-old mare by Bertrando got one mile on turf in 1:35.36.
A close second in a mile and one eighth turf allowance at Santa Anita on May 5, she cut back in distance a furlong and paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.60.
“You get all kinds of emotions when you watch them win,” said John Barr, who races and breeds as Oakcrest Stable and is on the CTBA board of directors. “Brice rides her very well. Sean trains her beautifully and she’s got some talent, so today was the day!
“The California incentive program is an outstanding program, probably the best in the nation for an individual state and I’m very proud to have been a director on the CTBA board for a number of years and this is one of those rewards!”
Unbeaten in three one mile turf efforts at Santa Anita, Bert’s Melody, who is out of the Tale of the Cat mare Unchanged Melody, sat second to pacesetter Nite Delite, took over turning for home and fought off Singing Kitty the final furlong. In getting her first stakes win and her fourth win from 12 overall starts, Bert’s Melody picked up $75,000 and increased her earnings to $231,893.
"She has speed, obviously,” said McCarthy. “You know you’re going to go into a race where there’s going to be a lot of speed and good speed on top of that. So, sometimes when you run a longer distance before a race like this, it will cause them to settle and relax a bit, which is exactly what we did today…This is the second race she’s settled like that, so it worked out super.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Singing Kitty was in a perfect position to take command a furlong out, but couldn’t match strides with the winner and finished second, 2 ¼ lengths in front of Lily Kai. Off at 5-2, Singing Kitty paid $4.00 and $3.20.
Lily Kai finished third, a neck in front of Nite Delite. Off at 12-1, Lily Kai paid $5.40 to show.
Source: Santa Anita Park