Gaining her fourth victory in
her last five starts, rapidly ascending 4-year-old filly All Star Heart
gained her first graded stakes win Sunday with a dominant triumph in
Santa Anita’s 42nd running of the Grade II, $150,000 Las Palmas Stakes
for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Under the direction of jockey Brice Blanc, All Star Heart made a
swooping move rounding the far turn to advance from fifth to first by
the time the field of five had straightened away in midstretch.
The winning margin was two lengths over City to City, with
Garrett Gomez aboard, as All Star Heart ran the distance in 1:35.74 over
a course labeled “good.” Rain earlier in the day reduced the field size
from eight with three late scratches. The Las Palmas climaxed Santa
Anita’s 24-day Autumn Meet.
Sarah’s Secret finished third, another three-quarters of a
length back with Rafael Bejarano aboard three races after he had broken a
tie with Joel Rosario for the Autumn Meet’s riding title. When Rosario
finished fourth aboard 7-5 favorite Malibu Pier in the Las Palmas, it
sealed his competition with Bejarano, who emerged with a 32-31
“It was a very tough competition, but I’m really happy,” said
Bejarano, who had missed his first scheduled mount after a flight delay
while returning from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup riding activities in
Louisville, Ky. “I had good luck,” he added.
If Bejarano encountered travel difficulties returning from
Kentucky, Blanc had a smooth journey in the Las Palmas. “I had a
beautiful trip,” he said. “I just followed Malibu Pier all the way
around, which was pretty much my strategy.
“My filly relaxed really nice and did what I wanted her to do at
the top of the lane and I was able to outkick her (Malibu Pier). She
has a tremendous finish. She’s a big, strong filly who can cover a lot
Blanc is well familiar with Malibu Pier. He had ridden the
Spendthrift Farm filly in her five previous starts. The ride aboard All
Star Heart was his eighth straight for Hall of Fame trainer Ron
McAnally said he was mildly concerned Sunday when he saw City to
City go past All Star Heart nearing the far turn. “’Oh, no,’ I said,
“but then I knew we had plenty left when Brice hadn’t even asked her
yet.” Added McAnally, “It’s good to get that graded status on her
As the 5-2 second choice in the wagering, All Star Heart paid
$7.20, $3.60 and $2.80. City to City paid $4.20 and $2.80. The show
payoff on Sarah’s Secret was $3.
Owned and bred by Gerald Gibbs, of Richmond Hill, Ontario,
Canada, Ontario-bred All Star Heart earned $90,000. The winning purse
brought her career earnings to $261,705 from a record of 5-1-1 in 15