ALBANY, CA (May 9, 2015)-The 6-year-old mare Central Heat extended her winning streak to four races and earned her first stakes victory Saturday when she out-kicked Theatre Star and Sing and Tell in the final sixteenth of a mile to capture the $61,615 Golden Poppy Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.
Central Heat, who is undefeated under jockey Russell Baze, defeated Theatre Star and jockey Frank Alvarado by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. Sing and Tell, who nearly stole the race at odds of 12-1 under Abel Cedillo, finished third, a half-length behind Theatre Star.
Central Heat charged from fifth in a field of eight to earn her eighth victory in 11 starts for trainer Bill Delia, who privately purchased the California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat after she finished second in a modest $8,000 starter allowance race in February 2014.
“I thought I could do some good with her and win some races, but I didn’t expect this,” said Delia. “She’s by Unusual Heat, and they get better with age. She’s a runner and she’s getting better every day. Hopefully, we can win some more races with her. At 6 they can improve more. I think she’s still got things to do, but this is a really good one today.”
Baze is 5-for-5 aboard Central Heat, who has won six of her last seven races and is 12-for-31 overall with $254,691 in earnings.
“She’s just really professional,” said Baze. “She goes out there and tries hard every time. She’s not intimidated by anything. She’s a genuine racehorse, and Bill has done a great job with her. Every time he brings her over, she’s sharp and ready to roll. A couple of horses went by her (approaching the far turn) but I didn’t want to move that early. When I moved her out and then asked her in the stretch, she responded. I wish they were all as genuine as she is.”
Central Heat, who finished seventh in the 2013 Golden Poppy while under the tutelage of trainer Ellen Jackson, was a slight favorite over Theatre Star in the 2015 running and paid $6.40.
Central Heat is owned in partnership by Delia, Dave Del Debbio and Dana Rocheford.