ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2017)–Favored two starts back in a Grade I stakes and well beaten in another Grade I on Sept. 30, Bob Baffert’s Just a Smidge seeks a measure of redemption as she heads a field of five juvenile fillies going six furlongs in Sunday’s $70,000 Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita.
The remaining four runners all figure prominently as they all come off recent maiden special weight wins and will hope to hand the top selection her third loss in a row following an impressive first-out score on July 19.
JUST A SMIDGE: A $425,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase in May, this diminutive daughter of Into Mischief took her five furlong debut by 1 ¼ lengths and was thus the 9-5 favorite going seven furlongs in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 2. Attentive to the early pace, she tired to be fifth, beaten eight lengths. Subsequently bet to 5-1 here in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on Sept. 30, she was never a factor while being distanced by 33 ¾ lengths. Owned by Debbie Lanni, Just a Smidge worked what appeared to be solid five furlongs here on Oct. 14 in 1:00.60, which ranked 12th best of 46 at the distance. With three weeks between starts and a return to one turn, Just a Smidge will hope to get back in the win column on Sunday.
CHATTY: Trained by Michael McCarthy and owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Madaket Stables, LLC, this Kentucky-bred daughter of Exchange Rate was a solid second going five furlongs first time out on Aug. 12 and then aired by five lengths going 5 ½ furlongs as the 3-5 favorite at Los Alamitos on Sept. 16. With Tyler Baze back in the saddle, Chatty, who sold for $95,000 at the Barrett’s 2-year-old in training sale this past March, is very quick from the gate and could prove plenty tough in her initial stakes engagement.
SECRET SPICE: Trained by Richard Baltas and owned by Little Red Feather Racing, she was a romping 5 ¼ length maiden winner in her second start going 5 ½ furlongs here on Oct. 1. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Discreet Cat, she sold for $125,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale this past May. With Rafael Bejarano back aboard, she is one of several who have shown good early speed.
STEPH BEING STEPH: Trained by Brian Koriner and owned by Blinkers On Racing Stable, Cahee, Georgetti, Harris, Lyons and partners, she was well beaten in her five furlong debut Aug. 12, but was off as the 2-1 favorite in her second start, an emphatic 3 ¾ length win going 5 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos on Sept. 8. A $240,000 Ocala Breeders 2-year-old in training sale purchase in April, this Kentucky-bred filly by Majestic Warrior will attempt to validate her Orange County score in the Anoakia.
ARTISTIC DIVA: Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC and trained by John Sadler, she broke a bit slow and went on to an authoritative half length win at odds of 4-5 in her first start, a five furlong turf engagement on Aug. 24. An Illinois-bred daughter of Munnings, she fetched $425,000 at Ocala in April and is out to prove she can act as well on dirt as she did on grass.
THE $70,000 ANOAKIA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 3 of 9 Approximate post time 1:30 p.m. PT
- Chatty–Tyler Baze–118
- Secret Spice–Rafael Bejarano–118
- Artistic Diva–Victor Espinoza–118
- Just a Smidge–Drayden Van Dyke–118
- Steph Being Steph–Stewart Elliott–118
First post time for a nine-race card Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For more racing information, please visit santaanita.com.