Peach Brew had her eyes on the finish line the entire time of Saturday's 30th running of the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Oaks Stakes.
Owned by Oklahoma eye doctor Robert Zoellner, Peach Brew was a vision of quickness through the stretch as she split horses and came from fifth to edge 21-1 longshot Sweet and Flawless by a half-length.
Zoellner, on vacation with his family, was not at Arlington Park for his first stakes win - but trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said there was no doubt the owner was watching at an off-track site.
Zoellner got to see 25-year-old jockey Quincy Hamilton settle his 3-year-old filly during the early stages of the 11/8-Polytrack event before angling the daughter of Milwaukee Brew out five wide for the stretch run.
The 8-1 longshot - second-highest odds in the seven-horse field - split horses and took the lead about a sixteenth from the wire and held off the charging Sweet and Flawless.
Favored C.S. Silk (4-5), winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes in September, set most of the fractions under invading jockey Robby Albarado.
"I was worried with him (C.S. Silk) on a comfortable lead and the way the track has been playing," Von Hemel said. "But he got the job done."
Hamilton was also concerned about C.S. Silk having things his way on the front end.
"But I knew when I asked my filly, she would crank it up," said Hamilton, who is riding the Arlington circuit for the first time in his career. "She's one who you can't make her go until she wants to go."
She certainly wanted to go Saturday.
"She's been so close so many times while running against so many good fillies along the way," said Von Hemel, whose filly was third, missing by a length in the Grade III Iowa Oaks on June 26 at Prairie Meadows. "I was glad to see her take it this time."
The victory was the third in 13 starts for the homebred, who added $89,400 to her earnings, which stand at $212,006.
Von Hemel, who has trained the past nine years for Zoellner, is spending his first full-time summer at Arlington since 1996.
The all-time leading trainer at Remington Park in Oklahoma won the Grade III Arlington Matron with Euphony on May 23 at Arlington Park.
Junior Alvarado, who rode Sweet And Flawless, felt the daughter of Unbridled's Song was the best filly in the race.
"I think I lost the race at the quarter pole when I had to move really wide and I lost one or two lengths," he said. "She tried really, really hard. She's a nice filly."
Albarado said he had no excuses with C.S. Silk, who ended up fifth in the field of seven.
"She felt comfortable on the lead," he said. "She got over the track well. But when they came up to her she offered no fight at all. I don't know why."