The 4-year-old fillies Proud Emma and Message hooked up in a furious stretch battle inside the eighth pole of the $75,000 Tranquility Lake Stakes at Del Mar and ding-donged all the way home. In the end, the camera could not separate the hard-trying pair and they called it even.
Proud Emma, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Peter Miller, was outside and Message, ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Bob Baffert, was inside. At the wire Proud Emma appeared to be a tad in front, but Message lunged late and tied things up.
Proud Emma is owned by John Waken who races under the name Gem, as well as Tom Kagel. She was purchased from South Point Sales at the 2017 Keeneland September sale.
Click to view the 2020 South Point Sales Keeneland September consignment
Each horse won $31,000 from the gross purse of $97,500. Proud Emma is now a 5-time winner of $236,158.
“I was really upset (when the race ended). It looked like Mike (Smith) was just waving the stick and wasn’t getting after it,” confided Proud Emma’s trainer Peter Miller. “But he said to watch the head-on shot and they were so close together and even bumping a little bit that he couldn’t do anything. I’m very happy to get the dead-heat.”
The last time there was a dead-heat in a stakes race at Del Mar was in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap in 1973 when Dollar Discount and D.B. Carm finished on even terms in the second division of the filly/mare sprint stakes.