Photo: Hollywood Park
After St Trinians won the Grade 1
Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 13, outfinishing Breeders’ Cup
Ladies Classic winner Life Is Sweet, trainer Mike Mitchell gave serious thought
to running against unbeaten superstar Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita Handicap
the following month.
Mitchell weighed his options and
decided to take his chances for more money against an undistinguished lineup of
males in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap. She started as the 3-1 favorite,
but never threatened in the Big `Cap, finishing sixth.
Three months later St Trinians is
scheduled to have a first meeting with Zenyatta in the $250,000 Grade I Vanity
Handicap over 1 1/8 miles of Cushion Track on June 13 at Hollywood Park.
“She had kind of a rough trip in the
Santa Anita Handicap,” said Mitchell from his stable office Sunday. “Maybe it
would have been different with a smaller field. I decided to give her a break
after that. That was then. Now is now. We’re all ready.”
St Trinians, a 5-year-old
English-bred mare, won all four of her United
States starts prior to the Big ’Cap after arriving from England. She
has won seven of 12 starts and earned $268,587.
“Zenyatta is a great mare, maybe the
greatest mare I’ve ever seen,” said Mitchell. “I’m not running against her
because I don’t respect her.”
Martin Garcia will ride St Trinians
for the first time.
Zenyatta seeks her 17th
straight victory, the longest streak in modern history against top competition.
Citation and Cigar each won 16 in a row. Trained by John Shirreffs for owners
Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta also seeks an unprecedented third straight victory
in the Vanity. The 6-year-old mare won under 129 pounds last year and 124 in
2008. Other two-time winners in the 68-year history of the race are Annie
Lu-San in 1957-58, Convenience in 1972-73, It’s In The Air in 1979-80 and Azeri
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith,
fresh off his first Belmont Stakes victory aboard Drosselmeyer Saturday, will
again be aboard Zenyatta. He also rode Azeri to both her Vanity scores.
The highest-weighted Vanity winner
was champion Gamely under 131 in 1968. Silver Spoon won under 130 in 1960.
With earnings of $5,924,580,
Zenyatta would pass the $6-million mark with a Vanity victory and close in on
the career female earnings record of $6,312,552 set by Ouija Board from
“I’m just preparing for the race,”
said Shirreffs, trying to ignore the record hype. “She’ll have one more breeze
Other probable starters are Miss
Silver Brook (Joe Talamo) and Will
O Way (Tyler Baze). Will O Way worked six furlongs in 1:13.60
for trainer Vladimir Cerin.
Other possible include Made For
Magic, Third Dawn, Cherryblossommiss and Miss Pleasant.