ARCADIA, Calif. -- Ending a losing streak that spanned 55 weeks, Zoonaqua caught pacesetter Mamselle Bebette in the final sixteenth of a mile and won the $75,000 Harold C. Ramser Handicap by two lengths at Santa Anita yesterday.
After winning the Oak Leaf Stakes on Oct. 10, 1992, Zoonaqua tailed off badly, especially in her first four races this year. She beat only three horses in those four races and lost by a total of 85 1/2 lengths.
Before yesterday, she had perked up considerably in the Sandy Blue Handicap Sept. 5 at Del Mar. After setting the pace, she was caught by Stalcreek in the final yards and finished second at 20-1.
Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and trained by Brian Mayberry, the 3-year-old Silver Hawk filly and 10-1 shot won in 1:34 2/5 for the mile on turf.
"She showed a lot of promise, although she did go off form [after the Oak Leaf]," Mayberry said. "But you have to be patient with them, and in this case, it paid off."
Alex Solis was happy with his position a couple of lengths behind 7-1 shot Mamselle Bebette.
"The race just couldn't have gone any better," he said. "We were laying right off the speed, and she was really relaxed, just floating along. I didn't want to move too early with her, I was afraid if I did some horse would come up and catch us at the wire.
"The credit really goes to Brian Mayberry. Her last race at Del Mar was very good and I knew he had her back on her game."
Kent Desormeaux, who rode the runner-up, doesn't believe Zoonaqua will ever beat his filly again.
"I hate to get too high on a horse, but this one left like a rocket, she got a little bit anxious and she never let herself relax like you want a horse to relax," he said. "With all that in mind, there isn't any way the other horse beats her again."
Icy Warning, the 2-1 second choice, finished third, a neck behind Mamselle Bebette. Adorydar, the 8-5 favorite, was fifth, the worst finish of her 10-race career.