Abigail Kawananakoa’s Native Tea Rose finished powerfully while edging Dean Frey’s ultra consistent stakes winner Shez Jess Toxic by a neck to win the $35,000 Las Damas Handicap on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, Native Tea Rose was picking up her second stakes victory of the season at the Orange County oval. The daughter of First Down Dash won the Stel Corona at 350 yards earlier this year. Her victory in the Las Damas came at 400 yards in a time of :19.729. She earned $19,250 for winning her fourth race in nine career starts. Fourth in the 2012 All American Futurity, Native Tea Rose’s career earnings now stand at $186,430. Bob and Jerry Gaston bred Native Tea Rose.
Shez Jess Toxic, piloted by Cody Jensen, broke super from post number three on the way to earning $7,875 for her runner-up effort. The daughter of Take Off Jess has now finished in the money in 15 of 16 career starts. She was third in the Merial Distaff Challenge in her previous outing.
Native Tea Rose also avenged a second place finish to champion Flame N Flash when the two last met on November 10. But this time it was Native Tea Rose that came out on top after breaking sharply from post number one at odds of 9/2. Owned by Robert Williams, Flame N Flash crossed the wire in third place in the Las Damas. The effort was her best in a stakes race since she ran second in the Champion of Champions last year. Juan Aleman saddled Flame N Flash. Veteran stakes runner Im A Feature Girl, Splendiferous Diva and One Fancy Eagle completed the field.