Teddy’s Promise will attempt to
replicate her authoritative triumph in the Grade I La Brea Stakes for
3-year-olds on New Year’s Eve when returning at the same seven-furlong distance
in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares.
Among six challengers to Teddy’s
Promise will be Sugarinthemorning, second in the La Brea; Home Sweet Aspen, who
finished fourth, and Rumor, dominant winner of the Kalookan Queen Handicap on
Santa Monica favorite Teddy’s
Promise, trained by Ron Ellis for owner/breeders Ted and Judy Nichols, won her
third straight in the La Brea. The extent of her class, however, did not become
evident until her showing at odds of 16-1 in the prestigious Grade I. Among
those she left in her wake was three-time Grade I winner Turbulent Descent. “I
had so much horse today,” said winning jockey Victor Espinoza, “I wasn’t
expecting anybody to come near me. She’s a runner.” Teddy’s Promise will take
earnings of $350,808 from a 5-2-1 record in 13 starts into the Santa Monica.
“I think she’s still improving,”
Espinoza said in anticipation of being reunited with Teddy’s Promise. “She’s
getting better and better. In past races, she was on the lead, but I think Ron
(Ellis) has figured out that she’s better coming from off the pace. He’s done
an unbelievable job with her.”
Rumor, a 4-year-old daughter of
Indian Charlie, will be seeking her first graded stakes victory. She has never
been worse than second while winning 4 of 7 career starts for $201,718. Mike
Smith will take over in the saddle for injured Garrett Gomez.
Richard Mandella trains Rumor for
Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. “Richard has taken his time
with her and done a tremendous job,” Gomez said following the filly’s 2
¼-length victory in the Kalookan Queen at 6 ½ furlongs.
The complete field for the Santa
Monica Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Bella Diamante,
David Flores, 118; Big Tiz, Corey Nakatani, 118; Teddy’s Promise, Victor
Espinoza, 123; Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario, 118; She’s Cheeky, Joseph
Talamo, 118; Rumor, Mike Smith, 118, and Sugarinthemorning, Rafael Bejarano,