LOS ALAMITOS, CA DECEMBER 4:The start of the Starlet Stakes (Grade 1) on December 4, 2021 at Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, CA (Photo by Casey Phillips/ Eclipse Sportswire/ CSM)


A stretch to two turns proved no issue for Professors’ Pride as the 9-5 favorite went all the way in the $100,500 Soviet Problem Stakes Friday at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Eddie Truman for owners Larry and Carolyn Samovar’s Academic Farms, the 2-year-old daughter of Bayern and the Twirling Candy mare Last Resort assumed control immediately and was never menaced, winning by three lengths under jockey Juan Hernandez.

Purchased for $60,000 in October of last year, Professors’ Pride is now 2-for-2 with earnings of $102,000. A one-length winner in her sprint debut Nov. 14 at Del Mar, she completed one mile in 1:36.94, the fastest time in the race restricted to fillies bred or sired in California since Sircat Sally won in record 1:35.42 in 2016.

Providing Hernandez with his second consecutive Soviet Problem victory – he tallied with Sensible Cat in 2020.

Big Novel, the 9-5 second choice, rallied to complete the exacta, two lengths in front of Madiha, the longest shot in the field of eight at nearly 48-1. 

Completing the order of finish were Girl Ranger, Dendera, At the Spa, Rose Maddox and Munny Penny. Smilin Evie was scratched.

The stakes victory was the first for Truman, who will turn 75 Jan. 23, since Moonless Sky captured the Fran’s Valentine Stakes – via disqualification – May 21, 2017 at Santa Anita.

“That’s what we were hoping for,’’ said Truman. “When she started working I was kind of upset with the exercise riders working her too fast, then I realized she’s fast and she’s good. She would come back and not blow out a match.

“(Larry and Carolyn) have been clients of mine and friends for 40 years and have kept me alive all the down times. It’s so great to win for people like that who love the business so much and stuck with me through thick and thin.’’

Hernandez, who was also aboard when Professors’ Pride debut 24 days earlier, was left impressed. “She broke sharp and was very comfortable on the lead,’’ he said. “It was her first time at a distance, but she changed leads at the quarter pole and was waiting for company. She was very professional.’’