Sunday’s closing day feature at Santa Anita, the Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes, has the look of a wide-open turf raffle, as trainer Jim Cassidy’s Sophie P heads a deep and contentious field of nine fillies and mares three and up at one mile on grass.
With a neck separating the first three finishers, English-bred Sophie P, in her third U.S. start, prevailed by a nose in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles turf Gamely Stakes on May 26 and will hope for a similar result as she cuts back in distance a furlong.
Sharing top billing with Sophie P are Mark Glatt’s Cordiality, an impressive one mile turf winner versus state-breds on May 19, Irish-bred Beau Recall, who rallied from far back to be fourth behind Sophie P in the Gamely and Ancient Street, who rallied to finish second in the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong turf Monrovia Stakes on May 28.
As Sunday is closing day at Santa Anita, there will be mandatory payouts on all exotic wagers, including the Pick Six, Pick 5 and Rolling Super High 5.
Owner: D P Racing
Trainer: Jim Cassidy
Off at 14-1 in the Grade I Gamely, Sophie P show tremendous heart in prevailing by a nose over well-accomplished Madam Dancealot. With three wins and two seconds at one mile on turf, the cutback in distance should be no problem with Kent Desormeaux back aboard. A 5-year-old mare, she earned a 91 Beyer Speed figure and appears set to have a productive summer for owner Deron Pearson and Cassidy.
Owner: Lee Drummond, John Xitco and Mark Glatt Trainer: Mark Glatt
In what appeared to be her best effort to date, this 5-year-old California-bred mare by Papa Clem pressed the pace and went on to a convincing 1 ¾ length win in the one mile turf Fran’s Valentine Stakes here on May 19, her third win from seven tries at a mile on grass. With Tyler Baze unable to ride her due to being involved in a spill earlier in the day, Gary Stevens picked up the mount at odds of 9-2. Baze, who has guided Cordiality to three other wins, is back aboard today and he can be expected to have her on or near the early lead. Claimed 12 starts back in July, 2016 for $32,000, Cordiality will be trying graded stakes competition for the first time.
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing or Medallion Racing
Trainer: Simon Callaghan
A dedicated deep closer, this 4-year-old Irish-bred filly rallied to take the Grade II, one mile turf Royal Heroine Stakes two starts back by three quarters of a length and she rallied from the clouds to be beaten two lengths in the Grade I Gamely at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 26. Blessed with an abundance of class, she would no doubt be well served by a fast early pace on Sunday as she seeks her second graded stakes win.
Owner: Alpha Delta Stables
Trainer: Phil D’Amato
Mid-pack early, she rallied well late to be second, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf on May 28. A neck winner of a classified allowance down the hill two starts back on April 7, she’ll get the services of leading rider Flavien Prat for the third consecutive time in the Wilshire. With a 5-1-0-2 record at one mile on turf, Ancient Secret, 5-year-old New York-bred mare was a Grade II stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles on turf in July, 2016 at Saratoga and will thus be in search of her second graded win on Sunday.
THE GRADE III WILSHIRE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 11 Approximate post time 4:20 p.m. PT
1. Beau Recall—Joe Talamo—125
2. Sassy Little Lila—Mike Smith—121
3. Shehastheritestuff—Edwin Maldonado—121
4. Miss Julia Star—Drayden Van Dyke—121
5. Sophie P—Kent Desormeaux—125
6. Cordiality—Tyler Baze—121
7. Storm the Hill—Rafael Bejarano—121
8. Bella Luma—Gary Stevens--121
9. Ancient Secret—Prat—121
First post time for an 11-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.