After two easy wins on dirt, Carressa switched to turf for her stakes debut on January 20 and came away with an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Megahertz at Santa Anita.
Under Victor Espinoza, the 4-year-old filly drove to the front turning for home, spurted away and lasted gamely by three-quarters of a length at 4-to-1 odds.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Carressa scored by 4 1/4 lengths on the main track at Del Mar in August and by 8 1/4 lengths in an entry-level allowance there in November. With no allowance options available for her in mid-to-late January, Shirreffs figured the time was right for a switch to the grass in the Megahertz.
“She can run on dirt, turf, anything you want to run her on, she’s just amazing,” Espinoza said after the daughter of Uncle Mo stopped the clock for a mile on firm turf in 1:34.64. “We took a shot at the turf. There was really no other place for her to race in, instead of just training her we might as well run her and John did the right thing.
“Now she can run on the dirt or the turf so they have many races to run, she’s been impressive and she is on her game. When a horse is getting good and starts winning it’s hard to get beat, they don’t come very often like Carressa that can run on both surfaces.”
Shirreffs added, “I’m really thrilled with her, the way she’s progressed and the way she ran today. I thought the most important thing was when Victor was able to control her there going into the first turn. After that, she settled and really ran well.”
David Ingordo bought Carressa at the Keeneland September yearling sale on behalf of West Point Thoroughbreds and a group of co-owners that includes Ingordo, his mother, Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs (John’s wife), Mercedes Stables, Scott Dilworth and Steve Mooney.