While running six furlongs in 1:09.39, Mike Pegram’s homebred daughter of Vindication gained her first stakes win. Her dam is an unraced daughter of Silverbulletday, the Hall of Fame filly also owned by Pegram.
Crisis of Spirit broke sharply in the third-race Anoakia before jockey Mike Smith dropped her back to third in the field that had been reduced to four starters with the late scratch of stablemate Excellent News.
Smith sent her in pursuit of front-running Well Deserved while racing on the extreme outside turning into the stretch, and Crisis of Spirit steadily dissipated the advantage held by the 5-2 second choice under Martin Pedroza.
“It’s nice to win with her,” Baffert said in the winner’s circle. “She’s got a lot of improvement to do. Maybe someday she’ll go a little bit further. Mike (Smith) thinks she will. She’s bred to be a champion, so hopefully she’ll improve.”
“I’m liking the way she’s relaxing now,” Smith said following Crisis of Spirit’s second win in three starts after a second-place finish to leading Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies contender and stablemate Always a Princess in her debut.
“The first time she ran at Del Mar (Sept. 5), she was on the muscle,” Smith continued. “The second time she ran (at Oak Tree, Oct. 4), she was a little better. Today, she was real kind. It looks like she ought to be able to stretch out.”
With no show majoring, the winner paid $2.80 and $2.10. Well Deserved, who finished 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Camille C, paid $2.60 to place. The winning purse of $37,065 increased Crisis of Spirit’s earnings to $71,265.
Following two dark days, Oak Tree racing resumes on Wednesday at 1 p.m. with an eight-race card leading up to the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday and Saturday.