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Mandella Seeks First Santa Margarita Win

Spellbound Benoit Photo.
Here’s a racing rarity: Richard Mandella has never won the Santa Margarita Stakes. The Hall of Fame trainer has captured just about every other stakes at Santa Anita, or so it seems, but never the Grade I Santa Margarita, the meet’s premier stakes for older fillies and mares.

That void could be filled Saturday when Mandella sends out Spellbound in the 77th edition of the Santa Margarita, which offers a $350,000 purse and will be decided at 1 1/8 miles.

Spellbound, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini, is coming off her first stakes win, a Grade II score in the La Canada, in which she rallied four wide to get up by a neck at a mile and a sixteenth under Victor Espinoza, who retains the mount in the Santa Margarita.

“A Grade I win for a (prospective) broodmare is icing on the cake,” Mandella said. “She’s a Grade II winner now, so a Grade I would be the dessert. She’s doing great, and improving, I think, with age. She’s a leggy filly, slow to grow up. I think we’re seeing the best of her now.”

The field for the Santa Margarita, race seven of nine: Fiftyshadesofhay, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Spellbound, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Macha, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Miss Serendipity, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Let Faith Arise, Corey Nakatani, 4-1; Stanwyck, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Iotapa, Joe Talamo, 2-1; and Yahilwa, Tyler Blaze, 15-1.


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