By Chuck Dybdal
Isa Firecracker ($8.20) impressed her trainer Jamey Thomas once again with her gameness as she held off favored Grand Prix to win the $60,075 Golden Gate Debutante by a nose at Golden Gate Fields on Friday.
The 2-year-old Heatseeker filly ran third in the Golden State Juvenile in her previous start at Santa Anita, overcoming trouble in the stretch.
“She got in trouble down the lane and looked like she was backing out of it, but she came back on,” Thomas said of her performance earlier in the month. “That’s her heart, how well she wants to compete.”
Isa Firecracker had no trouble in the lane Friday after sitting behind Zensational Dancer under Kyle Frey during the opening half-mile of the six-furlong race. She made a strong move into the lane and had a 1½-length lead at the eighth pol, but had to fend off the stout rally by Grand Prix who battled her to the wire. Americana was another three-quarters of a length back. Isa Firecracker was timed in 1:10.21 for the six furlongs.
“She’s just like a star player,” said Thomas. “They have it or they don’t. Even after the wire, she kept going like she was saying, ‘You’re not passing me.’ ”
The Myles McMahon homebred is now 2 for 2 at Golden Gate Fields, having won her career debut here. Friday’s victory was worth $39,400 and increases her career earnings to $92,280.
Thomas said he had “nothing in mind” for the filly, but believes she’ll relax and be able to go long, so the Feb. 11 California Oaks could be a possibility. He also noted that she had interesting options available as a Cal-bred.