Coming off a pair of solid efforts in graded stakes that followed a
stakes victory over the layout, British-bred Byrama
is the likely
favorite among a contentious field of twelve fillies and mares set to
contest Sunday’s 9th running of the $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes at 6 ½
furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
Rafael Bejarano, the meet’s leading rider who escorted Byrama in
her last three starts, will be back aboard the 4-year-old filly trained
by Simon Callaghan for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
Byrama posted her second win in as many starts over the unique
turf sprint configuration when victorious in Santa Anita’s Unzip Me
Stakes last Sept 29. She subsequently lost by three-quarters of a length
to Broken Dreams when third in the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy Stakes
on Oct. 12. She closed well to finish fourth behind Mizdirection in the
Grade II Monrovia Stakes on Jan. 6, her last start.
A repeat of any of those three showings could make her tough to
deny in the Wishing Well. And Byrama is seldom far away at the wire.
With a 4-3-4 record in 14 career starts that have earned $243,634, the
daughter of Byron has never finished worse than fourth.
Her competition on Sunday includes Hall of Fame trainer Richard
Mandella’s Rumor, who has been freshened since running fifth behind
Groupie Doll in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at
seven furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track on Nov. 3. With earnings of
$324,188 from a 5-4-1 log in 12 career starts, Rumor is the most
accomplished runner in the lineup.
But the Wishing Well will mark only her second start on turf.
She finished second as the odds-on favorite in a previous try over the
course, a first-level allowance race on April 15 of 2011.
The 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare, who often is given extended
down time between starts, has a history of big races off the bench.
Rumor has hit the board in all six starts that followed freshenings, and
she scored by 6 ¾ lengths in her maiden debut on New Year’s Eve of
2010. Mike Smith rides the Kentucky-bred owned by Ramona Bass, Claiborne
Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
Another Indian Charlie offspring, 4-year-old Nechez Dawn, will
be making her first start over the downhill course for trainer Jeff
Bonde and Ten Broeck Farm with Garrett Gomez in the saddle.
The well-traveled but relatively lightly-raced filly has
competed at seven different tracks during an eight-race career that has
generated earnings of $173,400 from four wins and a runner-up finish.
This will be her second start at Santa Anita.
Nechez Dawn competed in the Grade I La Brea Stakes on the meet’s
opening day, Dec. 26, and contested the early pace before fading to
fifth in the seven-furlong contest over a wet-fast main track. She has
won 4 of 5 starts on grass including the $97,000 Daisycutter Handicap
going five furlongs at Del Mar last Aug. 10.
Bob Baffert, the meet’s leading trainer, will try Candrea on
grass for the first time with Martin Garcia aboard. The 4-year-old
Trippi filly finished a close fourth in the La Brea at odds of 41-1. She
has won 3 of 12 starts for Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman
while earning $183,550.
One month into his comeback, Hall of Famer Gary Stevens will
ride Purim’s Dancer, who has captured both of her starts over the
downhill turf course for trainer Tom Proctor.
French-bred Givine, who will be handled by Tyler Baze, will be
seeking her first win from three tries in the Wishing Well. The gray
mare, trained by Julio Canani for Marsha Naify, finished fourth last
year after checking in a distant eighth when favored in the 2011 Wishing
The complete field, with jockeys and weights in post position
order: Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Rumor, Mike Smith, 120; Curvy Cat,
Corey Nakatani, 116; Sizzling Gold, Agapito Delgadillo, 120; Nechez
Dawn, Garrett Gomez, 120; Madera Castana, Victor Carrero, 116; Givine,
Tyler Baze, 116; Candrea, Martin Garcia, 118; Jet Blue Girl, Julien
Leparoux, 118; Purim’s Dancer, Gary Stevens, 118; Schiaparelli, Joe
Talamo, 116, and Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 120. Also eligible:
Unkept Rendezvous, Brice Blanc, 116.