Grade I winner Emollient, idle since running fourth, beaten one length
in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Nov. 2, heads a
strong field of seven older fillies and mares in Sunday’s Grade II,
$200,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Trained by Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Empire Maker filly ships west from
her base at Payson Park in South Florida and will again be ridden by
Mike Smith, who has guided her to Grade I wins in last year’s Ashland
Stakes at Keeneland April 6, the American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July
13, and in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 6.
Blessed with ample natural speed, Emollient has displayed a high degree
of versatility, winning the Ashland gate to wire, stalking the early
pace in the American Oaks, and rallying from dead last in an 11-horse
field to take the Spinster. In her only appearance at Santa Anita,
Emollient opened up 2 ½ lengths after the first half mile in the 1 ¼
miles Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and fought back gamely in deep
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Juddmonte Farms, she has earnings of $1,078,900 from an overall mark of 11-5-2-0.
Mott will also be represented by Pam and Martin Wygod’s homebred Floral
Romance, who was third, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Grade III Endevour
Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last out Jan. 25. A 5-year-old After Market
mare, she too ships in from Payson Park. All three of her career wins
have come from off the pace and she’ll be ridden for the first time Gary
Stevens in what will be her 10th career start.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Emotional Kitten, a close second to
Emollient in the Grade I American Oaks and idle since winning the Grade
II, 1 1/16 miles turf Mrs. Revere Stakes Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs,
ships in from Gulfstream Park for trainer Wesley Ward and will be ridden
by Victor Espinoza.
A 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred by Kitten’s Joy, Emotional Kitten can
sit mid-pack or run from well off the pace as she did in winning the
Revere. She is 14-4-2-3 overall with earnings of $357,533.
Third, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths by Emollient three starts back in the
American Oaks, trainer Neil Drysdale’s Topic has been idle since well
beaten in Santa Anita’s Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes Sept. 28. A winner
two starts back of Del Mar’s 1 3/8 miles turf CTT & TOC Handicap,
the 4-year-old filly by Discreet Cat is a dedicated deep closer who
would appreciate a fast pace.
Lightly raced, Topic is owned by Alice Bamford and Anthony Speelman.
She is winless from three tries on the Santa Anita turf and is 9-2-1-2
overall and will be ridden for the first time by Corey Nakatani.
A Group I winner in her native Argentina, Ron McAnally’s Miss
Serendipity made the early running and tired late in the Grade II, one
mile turf Buena Handicap Feb. 17, finishing fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths.
Fourth in similar fashion in the 1 1/16 miles Paseana Stakes Jan. 12,
she’ll be making her third stateside start in the Santa Ana.
A 6-year-old mare, Miss Serendipity is owned by her breeder, Anselmo E.
Cavalieri and will be handled for the first time by Brice Blanc, who
according to McAnally, will attempt to get the Argentine-bred to relax
early on the stretch out.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli’s Stormy Lucy comes off an even fifth place run
and was second, beat a nose, two back in the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles
turf Robert J. Frankel Stakes Dec. 29. Owned by Erica Gaunt, the
5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare gets a pivotal rider switch to leading
man Rafael Bejarano and will try to rally from off the pace. She’s
20-5-2-3 overall with earnings of $272,200.
Trainer Beau Greely’s Nickels Wild pressured the pace in the Frankel
two starts back Dec. 29, and finished fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths. The
4-year-old Sky Mesa filly made the lead turning for home in a 1 1/8
miles turf allowance Feb. 9, and finished second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths.
Owned by her breeder, Thomas L. Nichols, Nickels Wild is 10-1-3-2
overall and should be forwardly placed in the Santa Ana.
complete field for the Santa Ana Stakes, to be run as the seventh race
on a nine-race card Sunday, with jockeys and weights in post position
order: Miss Serendipity, Brice Blanc, 120; Stormy Lucy, Rafael
Bejarano, 118; Emotional Kitten, Victor Espinoza, 123; Topic, Corey
Nakatani, 118; Nickels Wild, Martin Garcia, 118; Emollient, Mike Smith,
123, and Floral Romance, Gary Stevens, 118.