• Mike Puype

Home Journey Too Tough in Las Cienegas

In their last meeting, Go West Marie tracked down and passed Home Journey in the stretch in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint Jan. 24, but there was no catching the speedy mare in the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) April 11 at Santa Anita Park.

Benoit Photography

The daughter of Good Journey led every step of the way on the Santa Anita downhill turf course and held off another late run from her rival to win by a length, capturing her first graded stakes win in her first try at the level. It was also the first graded stakes victory for co-owner and breeder Mark Giardino. "It was worth it," said Giardino, who bred Home Journey in California with Daryle Ann Giardino and Jock Elick. "We've been trying for a long time—over 25 years."

The 5-year-old mare left the gate at 3-1 odds and ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.09 with jockey Rafael Bejarano over a turf course rated firm, after setting fractions of :21.77 and :43.85 through a half-mile. "She ran really fast last time and just got nailed," trainer Mike Puype said. "Today, she slowed down a little bit, she kicked, and she ran a good race." Favored at 3-2, Go West Marie rallied from sixth in the field of eight older fillies and mares—6 1/2 lengths back early—but could not pass the winner in the stretch. Blingismything also closed to finish third, three-quarters of a length back. "It just didn't develop and I know I couldn't change my filly's style," said Go West Marie's jockey, Gary Stevens. "When I asked her, there was just too much work to be done."

The winner delivered $8.40, $3.60, and $3.40 across the board. Go West Marie brought $3 and $2.40, while Blingismything paid $4 to show. Out of the Came Home mare Goodtobehome, Home Journey previously won three allowance-level races, as well as her debut maiden victory in 2012, and now has a 5-3-0 record from 12 career starts. Her earnings stand at $279,920. Behind Blingismything came Theatre Star, Heavens Stairway, Living The Life, Salsita, and Unforgettable U, to complete the order of finish. Read more on