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.
Alex Solis aboard A.P. Adventure in the winner's circle.
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.
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.
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.
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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