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Saturday, July 6, 2013
Night of firsts at Hollywood

Apprentice jockey Cecily Evans, center, track announcer Kristine Leahy, right, and trainer Karen Headley.
Apprentice jockey Cecily Evans, center, track announcer Kristine Leahy, right, and trainer Karen Headley, left, celebrate firsts in their careers Friday night at Hollywood Park.

Glen Hill Farm's Customer Base topped the all-Tom Proctor exacta by upsetting stablemate and 8-5 favorite Midnight Music in Friday night's $72,350 Lucie Manet at Hollywood Park.

The 3-1 chance, who had placed in three straight stakes, made her breakthrough on the step up in trip to 1 ¼ miles here. Rallying from off the pace for Mike Smith, Customer Base got the jump on Midnight Music, and capitalized on her well-timed move to score by 1 1/2 lengths.

Midnight Music, currently in foal to Australian star Lonhro, closed well for runner-up honors.

"They both ran great," Proctor said. "[Smith] just had a little more horse power. It's nice to see this filly get a stakes win. She'd been second and third a couple of times. [Midnight Music] is also a quality mare."

Miss Pippa checked in another 1 ¼ lengths astern in third. Early leader Little Emily, who had opened up through splits of :24 and :48, came back to the field through fractions of 1:13 2/5 and 1:37 4/5, and weakened to fourth. Madera Castana was last across the wire.

The race was marred by an injury to Caelis, who was pulled up on the backstretch and vanned off.

Customer Base negotiated the firm-turf feature in 2:01 4/5, improving her record to 13-4-2-1, $211,482. A near-miss second in the one-mile Autumn Miss at Santa Anita in October, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid reappeared with a solid third in the six-furlong Great Lady M. at Hollywood May 26, and most recently finished second in the June 9 Redondo Beach at a mile.

There were also a couple of female firsts, of the human variety, earlier on the card.

Jockey Cecily Evans, a 10-pound apprentice jockey, won her first race as a professional in the 2ND, a $10,000 claiming event in which Kristine Leahy, a sports anchor and reporter for KCBS/KCAL Television, became the first woman to serve as track announcer at Hollywood Park.

Some 30 minutes later, trainer Karen Headley, daughter of Bruce Headley, earned the first victory of her career when 3-1 shot Keep Movin' defeated eight other $20,000 maiden claimers in the 3RD.

Leahy, who previously worked as a sports anchor and reporter in Boston, received some pre-race instructions from longtime track announcer Vic Stauffer before taking the microphone. She also called the 4TH race on the final Friday night program in track history.

Evans was 0-for-18 at the spring/summer meet before guiding Wrinkle Room, a 4-1 shot in the 6 ½-furlong Cushion Track affair for older fillies and mares, to a neck victory over 3-5 favorite Rossi Reserve.

Cutting back in distance after trailing against $12,500 claimers June 7, Wrinkle Room, a four-year-old daughter of English Channel trained by Matt Chew for owner Matthew Nicolas, pressed the pace while inside of the eventual runner-up and prevailed in 1:18 4/5.

A native of Milwaukee, Evans, 27, had experienced the thrill of victory once before, but that 2010 win came in a race restricted to amateur jockeys.

"I came out here from Maryland last year during Del Mar and I was just going to gallop horses for the summer and then go and try to ride back there," Evans said. "I loved it so much out here I stayed. I've done nothing but learn here.

"I never even expected to start riding here and I'm so glad I did. At the quarter-pole, I was just waiting for someone to come up to me. I really didn't have to ask her that much.

"I kept thinking, 'Are they coming, are they coming?' I expected to have to get into her a lot harder, but she just kept going nicely for me. This was just so great. I'm so happy to get a win here."

Keep Movin', who finished eighth of 14 in his debut at 6 ½ furlongs May 25 when trained by Bruce Headley, was only the second horse Headley had started under her name. The five-year-old Cyclotron gelding was claimed out of the Friday night victory by trainer Peter Miller.

"This is what I've wanted to do since I was in the second grade," said Karen Headley, who has worked for her father for a "long time.

"I just figured why not now. I've got a few babies coming up, nothing spectacular."