First Place Queen lived up to her name and made the best of a wide-open field Sunday night by nipping Sum Special Strawfly in a photo finish to win the $733,950 Golden State Futurity at Los Alamitos Race Course.
With jockey G.R. Carter aboard, the victory was worth $289,764 for the 2-year old filly, who took advantage of a late scratch by early favorite Meteoric, who was suffering from a high fever.
Deefirst, who went off at 5-2, finished third in the 400-yard race, holding off Twotimesthefly, who was making a late charge, at the wire.
Ironically, First Place Queen has been battling illness most of the fall and was making her second start since finishing out of the money Sept. 2 at the All-American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, N.M.
"She made it to this race on guts alone," trainer John H. Bassett said. "But this was a race where she got to show her talent."
Shortly after leaving the gate, Sum Special Strawfly held a slight lead over First Place Queen. But First Place Queen got it back in the final 100 yards and won by a nose in a time of 19.89 seconds.
Meteoric had won six of seven starts, the loss coming Sept. 2 at the All-American Futurity when the brown gelding finished third.
On Saturday trainer Lin Melton had Meteoric treated for a 104-degree fever, and the horse did not respond well.
-- Paul McLeod