Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

Santa Anita Stakes Results

Date: 02/15/2004

With all the Triple Crown prep action going on, it's easy to forget that there are other important stakes races as well. This was definitely the case at Santa Anita, where the fillies had their weekend, coincidentally over Valentine's Day.

A.P. Adventure prevails over Hollywood Story in the Las Virgenes Stakes.
The main event of the weekend in Southern California was Sunday's Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes, a 1-mile event over the main track for three-year-old fillies for a $250,000 purse. This is a key prep for such important races as the Kentucky Oaks on the Friday before the Derby, and possibly looking forward to the Breeders' Cup Distaff. A.P. Adventure was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the field of eight. Early on, 20-1 longshot Friendly Michelle dueled with 6-1 shot Rahy Dolly on the front end, and they kept the pace honest through a quarter in 22.78, a half in 46.17, and three-quarters in 1:10.57. A.P. Adventure, who was slow early on and saved ground, advanced on the leaders turning for home and, in early stretch came on strong. Getting the lead inside the 1/8 pole, A.P. Adventure held off the late charge of 5-2 second choice Hollywood Story to win by 1/2 a length in 1:36.50. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to pacesetting Friendly Michelle. Results Chart

Alex Solis aboard A.P. Adventure in the winner's circle.
Winning jockey Alex Solis said, "She's a runner, no doubt about it. She's just playing with these fillies; she's still got no clue what she's doing out there. This is the time of the year when you want to start getting your horses to a peak, and she's going to hit it at the right time. Who knows how good she is. It's like she's just running in second gear."

Winning trainer Wally Dollase said, "She's a special horse. I didn't know she was Grade I caliber. She's got a lot of talent, she's just got to put it to a little better use down the road. The horse she beat [Hollywood Story] is a talented horse so I feel we've got a very nice filly here. The Santa Anita Oaks [on March 13] is an obvious race we're pointing to. She's going to love more distance, too."

Victor Espinoza, aboard second place finisher Hollywood Story, said, "She ran really good and she tried hard. She'll be even better for the next one. Alex [Solis] got kind of lucky, the other horses opened up and he got through, but he was on a nice filly. But my filly, she tried very hard, and she's going to get better."

Cat Fighter wins a close one in the La Canada Stakes.
On Saturday, four-year-old fillies took to the track in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes, a 1 1/8 mile race for a $200,000 purse. In this event, 7-2 second choice Cat Fighter led the field through 6 furlongs in 1:11.08 and almost went gate-to-wire, save for when 8-1 shot Fencelineneighbor briefly got the lead in mid stretch. Cat Fighter came back in the final strides to prevail by a head in 1:50.41. It was just a neck back to 10-1 shot Tangle in third. Lukewarm 5-2 favorite Valentine Dancer, a popular hunch bet given the holiday, settled in fourth early keeping up with the pace but had nothing left for the drive and finished fourth. Results Chart

Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "This will probably be my last stakes race for [owner The Thoroughbred Corp]. It's sort of sad in a way but a pretty good way to go out. I thought she was done but she just came back. I really thought [entrymate] Atlantic Ocean would be on the lead but I told Tyler [Baze] not to send her because then she'll go too fast early, but she's more of a turf mare. But [Cat Fighter] is just green, she's learning how to run. Last time she got out there and made the lead and got tired and gave it up so she's just barely coming around now. The way she'd bred [Storm Cat-Strategic Maneuver] she's supposed to beat these horses, so maybe finally a little light went on in her head and she's started to run like she's supposed to." The Thoroughbred Corp. dispersal sale will take place at Barrett's on March 6.

Alex Solis and Cat Fighter return to the winner's circle after the La Canada Stakes.
Winning jockey Alex Solis said, "She keeps trying. She never gives up. She's a very game little filly. Down the stretch it seemed like the other filly was going to win easy and all of the sudden I started working on my filly and she came back, she never gave up. I just had to make sure I kept pedaling and we got there."

Jockey Victor Espinoza, aboard runner-up Fencelineneighbor, said, "When I took the lead she kind of pulled herself up and just waited for the other horses. On the backside I was breezing and I waited as long as I could. Turning for home I opened it up and as soon as I got in front half a length she pulled herself up. She ran great but it's one of those things."

Craig Dollase, trainer of third place finisher Tangle, said, "She came back on again the last little bit and this was the first time on [dirt]. Kent [jockey Desormeaux] thought she handled it well and I think the distance was good for her. We'll keep her at these longer distances and we have an option with her now."

McCann's Mojave holds off Lennyfrommalibu in the Sensational Star Handicap.
Also on Saturday was the $109,000 Sensational Star Handicap for older California-breds going 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course. 11-1 shot McCann's Mojave chased the pace of 17-1 shot Slew's Prince through a half in 43.03, but the pace was too fast for Slew's Prince allowing McCann's Mojave to get the lead in late stretch and hold off the late charge of 9-10 favorite Lennyfrommalibu to win by 1/2 a length in 1:12.34. It was a length back to 5-1 third choice Hemet Thought in third. Results Chart

Winning jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. said, "When Lennyfromalibu hooked him, my horse just took off, he just took off. I thought I'd be happy finishing second or third, but when he saw that horse coming he just took off after him and would not let him by. [The owners] have been so patient with this animal, it's really well deserved."

Photos courtesy of Tina Hines.

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