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Avila has Great Hot ready for Santa Maria

Save for a troubled trip in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last Nov. 4, Great Hot has never failed to earn a check in nine U.S. starts.


The Brazilian-bred filly by 2002 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Orientate hopes to enhance that mark in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.


“It looks like two or three horses in there have speed,” trainer A.C. Avila said, “but my filly is versatile. If there’s no speed, she can go; if there’s speed, she can sit. I think she’s going to be in the second or third flight.


“There was a bit of water underneath the surface in her last two races, the La Brea and the La Canada. Hopefully, for Monday, the track will be well dried out. She has four straight bullet works, but that’s not uncommon for her. She always works well.”


Chantal Sutherland, who has ridden Great Hot in her last eight starts, winning the Grade II Raven Run on Keeneland’s Polytrack last Oct. 22, is back aboard for the Santa Maria.


“She gets along with the filly well,” Avila said.


The field for the Santa Maria, the eighth of 10 races: Spirit Seeker, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Ellafitz, Martin Garcia, 8-5; Miss Mittagong, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Love Theway Youare, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; Kayce Ace, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland, 3-1; and Vision in Gold, Joel Rosario, 5-2.



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