A winner of five out of seven of her starts on the Santa Anita turf but idle since Nov. 3, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Storm the Hill returns to action on Saturday as she defends her title versus 11 fillies and mares three and up in the Grade 3, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes at one mile on grass.
Also figuring prominently in Saturday’s Wilshire are the John Sadler-conditioned Ollie’s Candy, who probably needed her most recent race, a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes, and Neil Drysdale’s English-bred Simply Breathless, who was most impressive in taking her U.S. debut by one length, the $75,000 Golden Poppy Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on April 27.
Owner: Alastar Thoroughbred Company, LLC & Michael Valdes
Trainer: Phil D’Amato
Last seen winning the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf course Nov. 3, this 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare took last year’s Wilshire four starts back by rallying from off the pace to win by 1 1/2 lengths in her first start for D’Amato. A winner of two of her four starts for D’Amato, she’ll be reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard for both wins.
Owner: Paul & Karen Eggert
Trainer: John Sadler
This 4-year-old homebred daughter of Candy Ride appears poised for her best following an even seventh place finish, 5 1/2 lengths behind the mighty Vasilika in the 1 1/8-mile Gamely Stakes here May 27. Idle before that since a close second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 18, Ollie’s Candy was likely in need of the outing and should be extremely tough as she shortens up a furlong. Although far back early in the Gamely, she has plenty of tactical speed, if needed. Ridden by eastern-based Joel Rosario in the Gamely, she’ll be reunited with Kent Desormeaux, who choreographed her most recent victory, which came four starts back in the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks over the main track here on June 16, 2018.
Owner: Cloros Bloodstock
Trainer: Neil Drysdale
Off at 2-1 in the seven-horse Golden Poppy at 1 1/16 miles over the Golden Gate turf on April 27, she was ridden with confidence by Flavien Prat and responded with a most impressive win, despite the fact she’d been idle since winning a minor one-mile turf stakes in her native England on Sept. 8, 2018. A 4-year-old filly who has an impressive 7: 3-1-2 record at one mile on turf, Simply Breathless has had six works over the Santa Anita training track since winning the Golden Poppy and will be ridden back by Prat on Saturday.
THE WILSHIRE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 8 of 9; approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
1. Ollie’s Candy—Kent Desormeaux—121
2. Storm the Hill—Rafael Bejarano—121
3. Simply Breathless—Flavien Prat—123
4. Poster Girl—Evin Roman—121
5. Meal Ticket—Mike Smith—121
6. Achira—Martin Garcia—121
7. Gliding By—Mario Gutierrez—121
8. Don’t Blame Judy—Victor Espinoza—121
9. Ippodamia’s Girl—Norberto Arroyo, Jr.—121
10. A Little Bit Me—Geovanni Franco—121
11. Tapped—Drayden Van Dyke—121