Market Quote, a first-time starter in the fourth race at Santa Anita on Sunday, was left in the gate for nearly three seconds but was able to overtake the field for the victory.
The 4-year-old daughter of After Market was making her debut for trainer John Shirreffs in a mile race on turf for maiden fillies.
She balked when the starting gate opened. By the time she started running after urging from jockey Joe Talamo, she was 10 lengths behind in a field of nine.
"Right when the gate opened, I think it scared her," Talamo said. "She hesitated. After that, there was nothing else to do but be patient."
She was 13 lengths behind in last place when she started to show her talent.
"Eighth by eighth [pole], I let her pick it up little by little," Talamo said.
Turning into the stretch, Market Quote unleashed a furious kick, charging on the outside and running down Top Kisser to win by a half-length in 1:34.86.
"For her to do what she did and run as fast as she did, it's pretty amazing," Talamo said. "John did an unbelievable job. He was pretty high on her. But I don't think anybody was counting on that."
Talamo said after watching video of the race, he was even more convinced the comeback was extraordinary.
"Trust me," he said. "I watched it a few times and it was unbelievable for the horse to do that. She's pretty special. John was like, 'Wow.' We all were."
On Monday morning, Shirreffs said, "It was absolutely amazing. I was talking to [owner] Marty Wygod and he said she stood in the gate for 3.7 seconds. The After Markets are really coming around. She has that real nice long stride. She's close to 17 hands. After Market had one of the quickest closing quarters of a turf horse. She has that ability to quicken."
As for whether Market Quote's next race will be in a stakes event, Shirreffs said an allowance event was more likely. He joked, "She needs a little more experience coming out of the gate."