Pearl Tiara and Fernando De La Cruz had to fight for the finish they wanted, but the rewards were worth the journey. The pair scored a win by a neck over Diamond Solitaire and Martin Garcia in the 19th running of the Indiana First Lady Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Pearl Tiara (photo) used her inside post to her advantage early in the one mile and 70-yard event. They rallied out for good early positioning and found themselves on the lead without much of a challenge. Diamond Solitaire was able to hold her position on the inside behind Pearl Tiara with Voodoo Justice and Orlando Mojica sitting to the outside in third.
As the race unfolded in the final turn, the field of 10 began to get into position to make an impact in the stretch. Diamond Solitaire found the room she needed along the inside to come up and match strides with Pearl Tiara. Midway through the stretch, Diamond Solitaire got a neck in front but that was the cue Pearl Tiara needed to fight back.
Both fillies fought gamely to the wire with Pearl Tiara getting the edge in the final strides. Russian Influence and Marcelino Pedroza moved up on the outside to finish third.
“This filly can come from off the pace or go to the front,” said De La Cruz, a two-time leading jockey at Indiana Grand. “There were a couple of speed horses in this race and I thought they would go out, but we broke in front. The first quarter was pretty easy, so we just kept the pace that was comfortable. She’s a fighter. She likes to fight for the win.”
Owned by Carol Hebel, Claudia and Fred Pirman, Deerfield Farm Racing and Dan Ison, Pearl Tiara was favored in the race, paying $4.40 to win. Deerfield Farm Racing, owned by Loren and David Osborne, also own part of Diamond Solitaire, so their celebration in the winner’s circle was extra special. The two fillies grew up together on their farm before they went separate ways to begin their racing careers. Pearl Tiara joined the Tim Glyshaw barn and has been a competitive member of his barn since the beginning.
“I think she runs best close to the leaders and I thought a couple would go out for the lead and we’d sit right off of them,” said Glyshaw, who has trained two Indiana Horse of the Years (Bucchero and Unreachable Star) in the past decade. “The plan was to send her and not get shuffled back early on, but she got the lead easy. And, she loves to be challenged. When she saw the other horse get ahead of her, she came right back. The next stakes coming up is on turf, but she’s running so well on dirt, I really don’t want to move her to turf. I’ll talk with the owners, but we may enter her as ‘main track only’ in that race.”
Pearl Tiara scored her second straight stakes win and third consecutive win overall for her connections. The daughter of Majestic Harbor is now four for 10 lifetime and three for four in 2021 with earnings of more than $230,000.