EG High Desert Farms’ SS Calendar Girl made an impressive debut in Southern California at 21-1 odds after posting a neck victory over Tres Queens in the $16,000 Native Empress Handicap on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.
Trained by Francisco Vallejo, SS Calendar Girl was making her first California outing ever and her first start since running against $330,000 winner Llano Cartel in the Oklahoma Horsemen's Association Mystery Derby at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma. Racing previously for Cuadra Ladrilleros Ltd Co, SS Calendar Girl won the Grade 3 Speedhorse Derby at Fair Meadows last year.
Racing for her new connections, SS Calendar Girl was all business from the outside post number eight. The 4-year-old mare sired by local star Finding Nemo was first at the start and never looked back en route to a strong victory over a field that included stakes winners Shez Jess Toxic, Splendiferous Diva and Hannahs Double Love. SS Calendar Girl covered the 300 yards in a blazing time of :15.29. Earning $8,800 in the process, SS Calendar Girl was picking up her seventh victory in 14 career starts. Her lifetime earnings now stand at $84,086. Veteran pilot Alejandro Luna, who is best known for riding top stakes winners like 2008 Champion of Champions winner Jess You And I, 2003 Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner A Regal Choice and the winners of three Kindergarten Futurities, was riding his first winner from only four mounts this season. Luna rode four winners from only 36 mounts last year.
“I think she surprised some people because she was a big longshot,” Luna said of 21-1 play. “She’s coming from out of town, but she’s a fast breaker. She took off strong.”
SS Calendar Girl came into this race after posting a modest :18.50 gate drill at 350 yards on June 7.
Abigail Kawananakoa’s Tres Queens earned $3,600 for running second. Dean Frey’s Shez Jess Toxic finished third. She has finished in the money in 18 of 20 career starts, most of which have come in stakes races. Splendiferous Diva, Tac Out, Hannahs Double Love, Betty Gun and Thirty Six Belles completed the field.