After Ed Allred’s Girls Can Fly won her first and only start during her 2-year-old campaign in 2013, trainer Scott Willoughby believed that she was on her way to becoming one of the barn’s top fillies.
“She’s been a hard knocking (runner), but little problems kept her from winning races,” Willoughby said. “She almost fell (when stumbling at the start of her race on January 23).”
Now at 4-years-old, Girls Can Fly has turned the corner based on her last two starts. The Foose mare was the runner-up in the Elan Again Handicap on February 28 before returning with an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the $15,000 Irvine Handicap on Saturday night at Los Alamitos. The Allred-bred sprinter defeated a field that included Zigfield Follies, which had previously beaten Girls Can Fly by a half-length in the Elan Again.
Ridden by Carlos Huerta, Girls Can Fly flew out of the gate from post number two, but so did Marta Pilling’s Bring Me Home from post five. Only a nose separated the two mares during the first half of the race, but Girls Can Fly eventually began to increase her advantage with each stride. At the end, Girls Can Fly held off Bring Me Home by a neck, while covering the distance in a time of :17.745. Veronica Gail Worth’s Zigfield Follies, a finalist in the Grade 1 Southern California Derby last year, followed them in third place with Bearing A Secret, Barrel Babe and One Prompt JJ completing the field.
After winning her only start as a 2-year-old, Girls Can Fly finished in the top four in all but one of her next six outings. However, her second career victory did not occur until she scored in a conditioned allowance race here on December 14, 2014. Having now added a stakes victory to her resume, Girl Can Fly’s racing future is bright. She could make her next start in the Miss Princess Handicap for fillies and mares at 350 yards on May 11 and of course, there’s California Breeders Champions Night in late July.
“We’ll see what’s next for her,” Willoughby said. “She had this race to deal with first.”
A winner in three of 11 career starts, Girls Can Fly earned $8,250 for the win to take her career earnings to $30,205. She’s finished in the top three in seven of those starts.