With Tyler Baze rationing her considerable speed throughout, Irish-bred Plein Air made her U.S. debut a winning one, taking$75,000 Astra Stakes in gate to wire fashion by three quarters of a length. Trained by Bob Baffert, Plein Air got a marathon mile and one half on turf in 2:27.34.
Raced exclusively in Italy and a winner of seven of 10 Italian starts, Plein Air, a 5-year-old mare, had been idle since, but Baffert, not known for training an abundance of turf horses, had her plenty fit as she cruised through splits of 23.56, 47.28, 1:12.88 and 1:38.74.
Off at 7-1 in a field of 10 older fillies and mares, Plein Air paid $16.60, $7.80 and $7.00.
“We’ve been working her and if you see it, she struggles on the dirt -- works very ordinary," Baffert said. "I knew I had to run her. I had to do something, so I put her in this race and here we are. I told Tyler to put her on the lead, that’s what you do. She ran around there and had turf form so I was very excited to watch her do that off a layoff.”
Owned by Larry and Sunny Brookshire’s Sunny Brook Stables, Ltd., Plein Air improved her overall mark to 11-8-1-1. With the winner’s check of $46,800, she increased her earnings to $155,272.
Second the entire trip, fellow Irish-bred Evo Campo could make no impression on the winner and was second best on the day, finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of longshot Lucy De.
The second choice in the wagering at 7-2, Evo Campo paid $4.80 and $3.80.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Lucy De closed much ground to finish a head in front of Estrechada. Off at 10-1, Lucy De paid $5.80 to show.
Source: Santa Anita news release