having been entered and established as the 5-2 morning line favorite in
Saturday’s $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes at one mile on turf, Unzip Me
instead is likely to stick with her familiar distance of 6 ½ furlongs over
Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Sunday’s $70,000 Wishing Well
"It looked like there was a lot of pace in
there on Saturday,” trainer Marty Jones said in favoring the downhill
sprint layout over which the speedy 6-year-old mare has won 6 of 10 starts. She
has been victorious in nine stakes ranging from five to 6 ½ furlongs, but never
had been extended to one mile in 24 career starts.
A winner of four Grade III grass stakes including
two over the downhill course, Unzip Me will be a prohibitive favorite as the
123-pound high weight among nine entrants in the Wishing Well. Her opposition
appears to be void of keen early speed. Unzip Me clearly does not need the lead
to win, but she has gone wire-to-wire in 8 of her 13 career victories.
Rafael Bejarano will be aboard for the 11th
straight time as the California-bred chestnut attempts to close in on
millionaire status. The homebred daughter of City Zip has earned $902,228 from
a 13-4-4 overall record for Harris Farms, Donald Valpredo, Per Antonsen and
She has, in fact, become one of the most consistent
runners on the circuit. Unzip Me has finished off the board but once in her
last 18 races. And on that occasion when running fourth, she finished just one
length behind the winner. The eighth running of the Wishing Well will be
contested as the eighth race on a program of nine races that commences at 12:30
French-bred Givine, a 5-year-old mare trained by Julio
Canani for Marsha Naify, is dropping off a troubled sixth-place effort in the
Grade III Monrovia Stakes on Jan. 2. She was the 19-10 favorite in last
year’s Wishing Well, her United
States debut. She finished a disappointing
eighth, but bounced back in her next start to take Hollywood Park’s
Great Lady M Stakes.
Joe Talamo will ride the roan mare, who drew the
challenging rail post. Givine lost by one length to Unzip Me last summer in Del Mar’s $105,000
Daisycutter Handicap at five furlongs. She brings a 6-3-3 record in 16 starts
for earnings of $208,701 into her return engagement in the Wishing Well.
Catchy Tune, a 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein,
returned from a 4 ½-month freshening to win an allowance race over the course
on Jan. 13. Trained by Paco Gonzalez for owners and breeders John and Cheryl
Toffan, she may be returning to top form under Martin Garcia. Kentucky-bred
Catchy Tune finished second, 2 ½ lengths behind Reba Is Tops, in last year’s
Wishing Well. She has posted a 3-2-1 record in 11 starts for winnings of
The Wishing Well is named for the dam of the great
Sunday Silence, winner of the 1989 Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, Preakness
Stakes and ’89 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The complete field for the Wishing Well Stakes,
with jockeys and weights in post position order: Givine, Joseph Talamo, 116;
Remit, Corey Nakatani, 116; Catchy Tune, Martin Garcia, 118; Elle Special,
Frederic Lenclud, 116; Win for M’lou, Victor Espinoza, 116; Unzip Me,
Rafael Bejarano, 123; Fifth Commandment, Mike Smith, 116; Dontbeshy I’ll
Buy, Alonso Quinonez, 116, and Teroda, Joel Rosario, 118.