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Breeders' Cup 2017

Teddy's Promise Back in Form for Santa Monica

December 31, 2011. Teddy's Promise and Victor Espinoza win the La Brea Stakes(GI) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA.
Grade I winner Teddy’s Promise heads a nine-horse field in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, one of six stakes offered on Sunshine Millions Day as part of a 10-race program.

A winner of the Grade I La Brea Stakes in Dec., 2011, Teddy’s Promise comes off a big 5 ¼ length score on a wet fast track as the 3-2 favorite in the Kalookan Queen Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs on Dec. 29—a race that more than anything else, could serve as a confidence builder for the 5-year-old California-bred mare by Salt Lake.

One start prior to the Kalookan Queen, “Teddy” ran eighth, beaten 15 ½ lengths when breaking from the rail in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 3.

“She’s come back and done well since the Breeders’ Cup,” said winning trainer Ron Ellis after the Kalookan Queen win. “I felt pretty good about her today…It was very encouraging.”

Owned and bred by Ted and Judy Nichols, Teddy’s Promise drew post four in a nine-horse field for Saturday’s Santa Monica. Given the fact she has an aversion to running inside of other horses, it may be incumbent upon jockey Victor Espinoza to use her from the gate in order to secure an outside position to the far turn.

“When she’s inside, she doesn’t always like it,” said Espinoza following the Kalookan Queen, a race in which she drew post five in a six-horse field.

Teddy’s Promise has an impressive resume, as her overall record is 20-7-2-1, with earnings of $484,981. She is 6-2-0-0 at seven furlongs.

Without question, the speed of the Santa Monica field is the up and coming Kindle, who is drawn in post position eight. Trained by Gary Mandella, she comes off a huge second coming down the hillside turf course in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs on Jan. 6.

A 5-year-old mare by Indian Charlie, Kindle rocketed from the gate and led until the shadow of the wire, losing to Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection by what many thought was a neck, but was called a half-length.

Untried at seven furlongs, Kindle should pose an elusive target on the lead with Edwin Maldonado. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing, LLC, she has a mark of 9-4-3-0 and earnings of $173,370. She has one win from four tries on natural dirt.

Favored in her last three starts, the Bob Baffert-trained Distracting ran second at 8-5 in the 1 1/16 miles Paseana Handicap on Jan. 13. Although she cuts back in distance, the lightly raced 4-year-old filly by Distorted Humor figures to be close to the Santa Monica pace under regular pilot Rafael Bejarano.

Owned by her breeders, Hill “n” Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. & McGhee, is 4-2-2-0, with $86,300 in earnings.

Like Kindle, Byrama exits three consecutive turf sprints, with her most recent a fourth-place run in the Monrovia Stakes. With Bejarano aboard Distracting, Byrama will be ridden for the first time by comebacking Hall of Famer Gary Stevens.

Well thought of throughout her career, it is expected that Byrama will fall far off the early Santa Monica pace and come with a big run under Stevens. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Byrama will be making her first start on natural dirt Saturday. She has earnings of $243,634 from an overall mark of 14-4-3-4. A 4-year-old English-bred filly, she is conditioned by Simon Callaghan.

Like Teddy’s Promise, the Steve Asmussen-trained Belle of the Hall was well beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but she has solid graded stakes-placed credentials to her credit. With a record of 9-2-1-2 at seven furlongs, she is no stranger to the distance or the main track.

With a fast early pace likely, Belle of the Hall should be well of the pace in the Santa Monica. Owned by Dixiana Farms, LLC, she has an overall mark of 23-6-2-2 and earnings of $493,170.

The complete field for the Santa Monica, which will be run as the eighth race, with jockey and weights in post position order: Journaliste, Garrett Gomez, 118; Distracting, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Sugarinthemorning, Martin Garcia, 118; Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza, 118; Belle of the Hall, Corey Nakatani, 118; Byrama, Gary Stevens, 118; Rumor, Mike Smith, 118; Kindle, Edwin Maldonado, 118, and Pink Lollipops, Joe Talamo, 118.



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