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Izzy Rules Dazzles in Las Flores

Extending a remarkable winning streak that began in a $20,000 claimer last December, Izzy Rules registered her fourth straight decisive victory and first in a stakes race Sunday with a dazzling display while capturing Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.

 

As jockey Edwin Maldonado gained his first stakes win at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Florida-bred mare simply blew away her graded stakes opposition while covering the distance in 1:14.59 after paving the way through robust fractions of 21.73, 43.31 and 1:07.40.

 

She crossed the wire 4 ¼ lengths ahead of Spectacular Sky, who took up the chase early, tried to make an impression in early stretch, but wound up withering in the winner’s wake. Home Sweet Aspen, recent winner of the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes, never could get involved. She ran fifth. Nor could Great Hot, a Grade II stakes winner. She ran fourth.

 

Since winning the claimer at Hollywood Park on Dec. 4 by 4 ¼ lengths, Izzy Rules has recorded a pair of 6 ¼-length wins in allowance races at Santa Anita. All have been sprints, and she has sped to front-running victories in each. Maldonado, a 29-year-old native of Puerto Rico, has been aboard each time.

 

Prior to turning the corner in the December event at Hollywood Park for trainer Jeff Bonde and owners George and Mary Clare Schmitt, Izzy Rules had won but a single race in 11 starts following victories in her first two career starts-- some reversal of fortune.

 

Attending the Ocala Sale in Florida, Bonde was not available to explain Izzy Rules’ dramatic development. Maldonado, who has been along for the ride, said, “This filly is so nice going and is just easy to ride. My main concern during the race was to try and get to the quarter-pole alone because I knew she would do the rest of the work for me.”

 

The work paid off in spades for Maldonado. “This win feels great,” he said, “and it’s a dream come true. I was hoping to win a stakes race here at Santa Anita, and I finally did.”

 

Marty Jones, who trains runner-up Spectacular Sky, viewed the outcome realistically. “We ran into a buzzsaw today,” he said. “The winner really likes this track, and she’s getting good.”

 

Spectacular Sky, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of third-place She’s Cheeky, with Joe Talamo aboard. It was another half-length back to Great Hot with Home Sweet Aspen another 1 ¼ back in fifth, 10 ¾ ahead of last-place Veloce Canzone.

 

Izzy Rules’ recent progress had made believers out of the racing public. Bet down to 13-10 favoritism, she paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.80. Spectacular Sky paid $4 and $3.40. The show price on She’s Cheeky was $3.40.

 

With the winning purse of $60,000 amounting to the biggest payday of the bay mare’s career, the overall earnings of the daughter of Peace Rules shot up to $264,306 from a 7-3-2 record in 17 races.

 

 

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