Racing


Kiss Thru Fire Outduels Pattys Saint To Win Grade 2 Las Damas Handicap
Kiss Thru Fire, under jockey Jesus Ayala, defeats Pattys Saint (#4) and Nymphette (#7) in the $75,000 Las Damas Handicap(G2) Saturday night at Los Alamitos Race Course.

Amber Mendez
Kiss Thru Fire Outduels Pattys Saint To Win Grade 2 Las Damas Handicap

LOS ALAMITOS, CA—NOVEMBER 18, 2022–Gentry Farms' Kiss Thru Fire, the reigning AQHA champion aged mare, made a strong statement in her campaign to defend the aged mare title with an impressive victory in the $75,000 Las Damas Handicap(G2) on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Facing an outstanding field that included Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap winner Pattys Saint, Mildred Vessels runner-up Nymphette, plus six stakes winners among the seven other fillies and mares in the field, Kiss Thru Fire scored a hard-fought, strong victory in the 400-yard Las Damas.

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Juan Aleman, the Walk Thru Fire mare held off Pattys Saint by a neck to avenge her previous loss to that rival in the Mildred Vessels on September 18.

The Gentry family, trainer Juan Aleman and jockey Jesus Ayala accept the Las Damas Handicap stakes trophy at Los Alamitos Race Course Saturday night. ©  Orlando Gutierrez

Kiss Thru Fire improved her 2022 record to four wins – all in stakes races – from seven starts this season. Her scores have come in the (G1) $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap, the $100,000 Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes, the $50,000 Matron Stakes, and now in the Las Damas.

A 5-year-old mare out of the multiple graded stakes winner Fredaville, Kiss Thru Fire has now won 13 of 32 career starts and has earned $708,025. She earned $41,250 in Saturday's Las Damas.

"This mare, honestly, should be in the Champion of Champions," Aleman said. "She just had her head turned that (night) in the Mildred Vessels. That's the only way they beat her. She just showed them right now who she is. She beat the mares that were in the Millie Vessels. It is what it is. We're just happy for this win. She redeemed herself tonight." 

The victory also helped Kiss Thru Fire redeem herself from last year's running in the Las Damas, where she was disqualified from first and placed 7th for bothering foes during the race.

"This is very, very special and with a little luck, she'll get (champion title) two years in a row," Robert Kirk Gentry said.

It appears that Kiss Thru Fire will make one more start before heading to the breeding shed for Gentry Farms. If all goes as planned, she'll make one more start in the 2023 Charger Bar Handicap. Already the two-time defending winner of the Charger Bar, Kiss Thru Fire could become the first three-time winner of the January event for mares.

"We'll evaluate her after this race and I'll talk it over with Mr. Gentry and we'll try to go after the Charger Bar," Aleman said.

"She's ready to bring baby just as good too," Gentry said.

Bred by Gentry Farms, Kiss Thru Fire's lineage in an impressive one. Her dam, Fredaville, won 11 races and earned over $385,000. She won the Grade 1 AQHA Distaff Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows in 2012 and the Grade 3 Decketta Stakes at Remington Park in 2011.

Fredaville's mother is Fearless Freda, who in 1996 won the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby at Retama Park and the Grade 1 QHBC Championship Classic at Los Alamitos. Fearless Freda is also the mother of Dasha Freda, who is the dam of champions Heza Dasha Fire and Ima Fearless Hero.

Continuing on this lineage, Fearless Freda is out of the Such An Easy Effort, a winner of nearly $500,000 and the winner of the Grade 1 Denim N Diamonds Futurity at Hollywood Park and Grade 1 La Primera Del Año Derby, which was then held at Bay Meadows.

Owned and bred by Robert Harrison, Pattys Saint lost for only the second time in her last nine starts. This was Pattys Saint's final outing before racing in the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions on December 10. 

Jesus Virgen rode the 4-year-old mare by Jess Got Easier for trainer Heath Hillman. She earned $16,875 for this effort to take her career earnings to $204,456.

Ed Allred's Nymphette displayed her powerful finishing kick once again, improving from eighth place at the start to third place.

Ridden by Henry Reynoso Lopez for trainer James Glenn, Jr., the 3-year-old flly by Fly Thru Fire out of Nymph was making only her fourth career start, and for the second straight time she was battling for a top spot against the best mares in the nation. Nymphette's third place share of the purse was worth $9,375.

The top three finishers were followed by Letty Cartel, Famous Shining Star, Reason To Fly MV, Mperativ, In My Heart, College Scandal, and Go To Girl.

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