Asteroid Field, a filly bred in Kentucky but raced exclusively in Europe, made a successful U.S. debut Sunday with a winning stretch drive to capture the $200,000 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Ridden by Aaron Gryder, who had his whip knocked out of his hand late in the race, the 4-year-old daughter of Forli beat the favored Nashmeel by a half-length.
The Irish-bred Any Song finished 2 3/4 lengths further back in the field of 10 fillies and mares.
Winning the 1 1/8-mile grass race in 1:51 over a yielding turf still soft from rain on Friday, Asteroid Field paid $21, $9.20 and $5.80. Nashmeel, with Corey Black riding, paid $3.60 and $2.80, and Any Song, with Bill Shoemaker, paid $4.60.
British-bred Bonshamile finished fourth and Canada's Carotene, winner of the recent Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita, fifth in the field.
A crowd of 24,199 watched the upset by the filly who had won her last two races in England, at Goodwood on Sept. 28 and Newmarket on Oct. 15.
She had been shipped to the U. S. in expectation of running in the $1-million Breeders' Cup Mile here on Nov. 21, but she wasn't selected for the field.
In the Matriarch, Black sent Nashmeel into a quick lead ahead of the Chilean Infinidad and Any Song. On the backstretch, Any Song moved into second and Gryder kept Asteroid Field in fourth.
At the turn for home, Nashmeel maintained her lead with Any Song, Carotene and Asteroid Field in that order before the latter made her move. She caught Nashmeel late in the stretch.
For the second time in as many outings after coming to this country from France, the 3-year-old Nashmeel settled for second.
The winner carried 123 pounds, the same as all others except Nashmeel who, as the only 3-year-old in the race, was assigned 120. Oueee Bebe, the only other sophomore filly, was scratched.
Victory was worth $110,000 for Asteroid Field's owner, Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates. His filly has now won 6 of 21 starts and earned $317,701.