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Proud Emma (left) and Message dead heat in the Tranquility Lake
The feature race on Friday at Del Mar was the $75,000 Tranquility Lake Stakes for older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the main track. Conditions were typical for the seaside track in late August with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Just 5 made final entry and went to post, with Clement L. Hirsch (G1) 4th place finisher Hang a Star sent off as the 8-5 favorite. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Proud Emma, 2nd in allowance company last out, and 5-2 third choice Message, 2nd in an allowance after finishing 6th in the La Canada (G3).
Jockey Flavien Prat sent Message to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 22.57, 46.27, and 1:11.62 while pressed by 6-1 Smiling Shirlee and stalked by Proud Emma. Turning for home jockey Mike Smith sent Proud Emma to a short lead through 7f in 1:24.16. Message fought back and the pair hit the line together in a dead heat for win in 1:37.27. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to late-running favorite Hang a Star third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Proud Emma Smith 3.20 2.80 2.10 5 Message Prat 3.60 3.60 2.40 2 Hang a Star Rispoli 2.10 Winning Time: 1:37.27 $1 Exacta 4-5 5.20 $1 Exacta 5-4 6.00 $2 Quinella 4-5 10.00 $1 Trifecta 4-5-2 10.90 $1 Trifecta 5-4-2 10.80Results Chart
Left: Proud Emma in the "winner's circle". Winning trainer Peter Miller said, "I was really upset. It looked like Mike was just waving the stick and wasn't getting after it. But he said to watch the head-on shot and they were so close together and even bumping a little bit that he couldn't do anything. I'm very happy to get the dead-heat."
Right: Proud Emma heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "I was concerned about the quick turnaround (12 days). I thought I was going to have to go catch (Message), but we wound up hooking up early. I couldn't hit my filly. She was getting in (he was just outside Message) and I couldn't go left-handed, we were too close. And if I hit her right-handed, she might come over more. I knew I was in front right before the wire, but then (Prat) got the bob. My filly's head was coming back up and his was going down. It worked out OK."
Left: Message in the "winner's circle". Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "She put us in the race today; she was really digging in late. I couldn't tell if I'd won or not. I thought maybe. First time I've ever been in a dead-heat in a stakes race."
Right: Message in the paddock before the race. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "First time I've ever dead-heated in a stakes. I couldn't tell who won. I was willing to split it."
Third place finisher and beaten favorite Hang a Star in the post parade. The Ian Kruljac trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $136,611 for owner Seltzer Thoroughbreds.
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