Fi Fi Pharoah Rallies from Last to Take $150,000 Melair Stakes by a Half Length as She Gets 1 1/16 Miles in 1:46.41
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 19, 2021)—Unexpectedly last early, Terry Lovingier’s homebred Fi Fi Pharoah battled through the lane with Eddie’s New Dream to win by a half length in Saturday’s $150,000 Melair Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Walther Solis and ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Fi Fi Pharoah, a 3-year-old daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:46.41.
Breaking from the number three post position, Fi Fi Pharoah, who had pressed the pace en route to a one length maiden score going a flat mile on May 15, found herself last in a field of eight, about 10 lengths off of dueling leaders Mucha Woman and Omg It’s Jessica around the Club House turn.
Next to last by a similar margin and on the move with three furlongs to run, Fi Fi Pharoah wheeled four-deep turning for home as a hot early pace took its toll on the front-runners.
With Eddie’s New Dream and Mario Gutierrez taking the lead at the top of the lane, Fi Fi Pharoah joined the battled with a furlong to run and prevailed in a game effort.
“Last time, it worked for her with Rispoli,” said Solis in reference to the maiden score on May 15. “I didn’t think we would get beat this time. She just ran from the three eighths, she knows when she has to speed up. When she got in front, she started waiting for everybody. She’s a classy filly. I knew the filly was coming in 100 percent. I told Terry, ‘We got the filly.’”
Off as the 2-1 favorite in a field of California-bred or sired three-year-old fillies, Fi Fi Pharoah paid $6.00, $3.60 and $2.60.
Co-owned by Lovingier, Tom Beckerle and Amanda Navarro, Fi Fi Pharoah, who is out of the Ghostzapper mare My Fiona, notched her first stakes win today and improved her overall mark to 5-2-1-1. With the winner’s share of $90,000, she increased her earnings to $178,560.
“She’s so lazy in the mornings, she won’t give you anything until she reaches the quarter pole and takes off, so that’s what I was expecting for the race,” said Rispoli. “I knew the pace was on, so I stayed inside because she doesn’t mind staying back until I find a nice gap. I was following Mario (Gutierrez, aboard Eddie’s New Dream) until I had a chance to go into the clear.”
Eddie’s New Dream who finished 2 ½ lengths clear of I’m So Anna, was off at 7-2 and paid $4.00 and $2.80.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, I’m So Anna was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $2.40 while finishing 6 ¼ lengths in front of Pawnee.
Fractions on the race were 23.49, 47.47, 1:12.93 and 1:39.54.
The Melair is part of the lucrative Golden State Series. Sponsored by the CTBA, the Golden State Series is for eligible California-bred or sired horses.
UMBERTO RISPOLI, FI FI PHAROAH, WINNER:
“I’ve been working with her and I’ve been really pleased with her. I kept telling Walther she’s getting better and better.
“She’s so lazy. In the mornings she won’t give you anything until she reaches the quarter pole and takes off, so that’s what I was expecting for the race. I knew the pace was on, so I stayed inside because she doesn’t mind staying back until I find a nice gap. I was following Mario (Eddie’s New Dream) until I had a chance to go into the clear.
“To be honest, I was expecting to win more easily, but I know she’s lazy. The more horses that go, the better it is for her. She needs a target. When horses run next to her, she always keeps going.”
WALTHER SOLIS, FI FI PHAROAH, WINNER:
“Last time it worked for her with Rispoli, I didn’t think we would get beat this time. She just ran from the three-eighths, she knows when she has to speed up. When she got in front, she started waiting for everybody. She’s a classy filly. I knew the filly was coming in 100 percent. I told Terry (Lovingier), ‘We got the filly’.”
TERRY LOVINGIER, PART OWNER/ BREEDER, FI FI PHARAOH, WINNER:
“You can’t have a more special day. To breed them and then foal them out at the farm, to watch the birth, I mean she stood up in 15 minutes, she’s probably about 165 pounds right away. I have video of her nuzzling me from the moment she stood up, there’s nothing better. It’s just great.”
The winning owners are Tom Beckerle, Terry Lovingier (Breeder) and Amanda Navarro.