a stirring stretch-long duel with Sugarinthemorning, Craig Stables’ Home
Sweet Aspen emerged victorious by a neck Saturday in Santa Anita’s 55th
running of the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and
mares at seven furlongs before an on-track crowd of 30,514 on Sunshine Millions
Timed in 1:21.42 under a vigorous ride by Joel Rosario, the
homebred daughter of Candy Ride rebounded from a faltering fourth in the Grade
I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 31 to gain her first graded stakes victory in her
It wasn’t easy. Home Sweet Aspen and Sugarinthemorning,
with Rafael Bejarano aboard, began to separate themselves from the other five
entrants at the head of the lane. But neither would yield. It was Home Sweet
Aspen, a 5-1 shot, along the rail with 9-2 Sugarinthemorning on her flank.
mount slowly edged clear.
She’s Cheeky, ridden by Joe Talamo, wound up third, 2
¼ lengths behind Sugarinthemorning. The two favorites, both 2-1, finished up
the track. Teddy’s Promise, who won the La Brea by 2 ½ lengths, finished
a non-threatening fifth. Rumor, never worse than second in seven previous
starts, backed up to sixth as the narrow choice.
recalled the La Brea. “She was probably going a little too quick,”
he said of his mount. “She was much better today. She was impressive. I
kind of saw the other horse coming on the outside, so I just waited a little
bit. I knew I had a little more left because I let her go out easy early, and
John Sadler, who trains Home Sweet Aspen and who won the Santa Monica last year
with Switch, felt the rail post might have compromised his Candy Ride filly in
the La Brea. “I felt she’s capable, and we got a good trip
today,” he said. “I thought she’d run well in here
The late Sidney Craig and wife Jenny bred Home Sweet Aspen,
who finished off the board in her last two races following three wins and as
many seconds in her first six starts. Her only previous stakes victory had been
gained in last October’s ungraded Louis R. Rowan Stakes at Santa Anita.
With a winning purse of $180,000 in the Santa Monica, Home Sweet Aspen increased her
earnings to $355,822. She paid $13.60, $6.80 and $4.40.
Sugarinthemorning’s mutuels were $5 and $3.60. The show price on She’s
Cheeky was $5.