Photo: Hollywood Park
jockey Brice Blanc practically salivated at the chance to ride Spendthrift
Farm’s Malibu Pier in her last start in the Santa Barbara Handicap, which she
won at Santa Anita last month.
Blanc had ridden the filly’s dam, the French-bred
Blue Moon, to victory in the 2002 Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita for owner
B. Wayne Hughes, and found the similarities of mother and daughter striking.
“They looked like twins,” said Blanc Sunday as he
prepared to ride the 4-year-old filly again in the $250,000 Grade I Gamely
Stakes Monday. “I have the pictures of both winning, and their stride,
everything looks just alike.
“I went to Spendthrift Farm last year to visit Blue
Moon,” added Blanc. “She had another foal, a sister to Malibu Pier, who looks
just like her too.”
Trainer A.C. Avila hopes to spring an upset in the
Gamely with Celtic Princess, a 7-year-old Brazilian-bred mare who will be
making her first start since winning her California debut in an optional
claimer on the Santa Anita turf December 30.
“She came out of the race with a tibia fracture,”
explained Avila of the time off.
“But she’s been training great.’’