Hoop of Colour finishes best in Santa Ana

March 18, 2015 02:23pm
Hoop of Colour wins 2015 Santa Ana.
Photo: Benoit Photo

In theory, the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita Park was Diversy Harbor’s to lose, but as is often the case, reality differed greatly from theory. With no pace to run at, Diversy Harbor was left spinning her wheels while Southern California new comer Hoop of Colour rolled past the two front-runners to post an upset victory in her graded stakes debut.

It was a good beginning for all, but Rusty Slipper wanted the lead and got it. With no early pressure, Rusty Slipper set very comfortable fractions, clicking off the opening quarter in :25.19. The tempo increased slightly in the second quarter with the half being posted in :49.56. Three Hearts took up position in second and to the outside of Rusty Slipper with Hoop of Colour tucked in on the rail in third. Rosalind loped along in mid-pack, while favored Diversy Harbor and Winning Rhythm were content to give the field several lengths early.

With only two fillies in front of them, jockey Drayden Van Dyke guided Hoop of Colour off the rail and to the outside of Rusty Slipper and Three Hearts. “Today, right out of the gate, I was set up perfect, she broke well,” the Eclipse winning jockey said. “The only other speed was Three Hearts and the other Motion horse, Rusty Slipper. I got right behind Rusty Slipper; my horse threw her ears up and she was so relaxed. Near the half-mile pole only two horses were in front of me so I got out, stayed off Three Hearts’ hip and I had clear sailing from there when I asked her to run with no trouble.”

As the field entered the far turn, Winning Rhythm made a bold middle move and pulled into fourth. In front of her, Three Hearts struck the lead and kicked on for home. Just behind her, Hoop of Colour was also finding her best stride. Midway through the stretch, Hoop of Colour swept past a very game Three Hearts, who continued to battle on, to take the lead and the victory. The winning margin was ¾-length, and the final time for the 1 1/8 mile turf event was a slow 1:49.08.

Three Hearts stayed on for second, and Winning Rhythm picked up the show. Testa Rossi completed the superfecta, and the order of finish was completed by Rosalind, Diversy Harbor, Rusty Slipper, Queen of the Sand and Lady of Gold.

Gary Stevens, who was aboard 5-2 favorite Diversy Harbor, did not mince words after the race. “There was no pace,” he stated simply.

Off odds of 12.4-1, Hoop of Colour returned $26.80/$13.80/$10.00. Three Hearts, off at 17-2, paid $10.60/$7.20, and 42-1 shot Winning Rhythm returned $13.20. The $1 exacta returned $171.10, the $1 trifecta paid $2,902.60 and the $1 superfecta was worth $14,621.30.

Speaking in place of trainer Graham Motion, Alice Clapman, assistant trainer to Motion, said of their winner, “She’s a really nice filly, and all that family, three or four of them, have been graded stakes winners. She’s shown a lot of talent since she’s been here. Drayden won on her first time here and she’s been training great since then, and this race kind of came up so we thought we’d just take a shot, and it worked out well.”

By Distorted Humor and out of the Unbridled mare Surya, Hoop of Colour is a homebred for Flaxman Holdings, Ltd. The bay 4-year old filly began her career across the pond and was making just her second start in the United States. In winning the Santa Ana, Hoop of Colour kept her perfect U.S. record intact and won her first graded stake.

When asked what might be next for the Santa Ana winner, Clapman stated, “I’m sure Graham will talk to the owners and sort that out. We might run her back here in that mile and a quarter turf race (Grade 3, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap on April 18), or she might go to Keeneland.”



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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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