ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 20, 2016)–Doubledown Stables’ consistent Ben’s Duchess heads a field of nine older fillies and mares going seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by John Sadler, Ben’s Duchess, who was an impressive 3 ¼ length winner of the Grade III, 6 ½ furlong L.A. Woman Stakes two starts back on Oct. 4, comes off a fourth place finish in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies here on Dec. 26.
The La Brea was the only race in which the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Munnings has been out of the money in 10 career starts, as she has a lifetime mark of 10-4-1-4, with earnings of $240,936. A bona fide sprinter, Ben’s Duchess has won at distances from 5 ½ to 6 ½ furlongs, but is winless in two tries at seven furlongs.
A hard-hitting 6-year-old mare, Living The Life was a Grade II winner going 6 ½ furlongs on synthetic two starts back on Sept. 7 at Presque Isle Downs (near Erie, Pa.), and she shortens up off a troubled sixth in the Grade II, one mile turf Goldikova Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 1.
An Irish-bred who had raced exclusively in England prior to coming to trainer Gary Mandella’s barn in the summer of 2014, Living The Life has acclimated well, winning four of nine stateside starts. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing, LLC, Living The Life is 12-4-3-2 at seven furlongs and she’s 28-9-5-2 overall with earnings of $791,704.
A winner of the Grade II Monrovia Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course, trainer Jim Cassidy’s classy Prize Exhibit, who has three Southern California graded stakes wins on turf to her credit, will try to transfer that form to the main track in the Santa Monica. Owned by Deron Pearson’s DP Racing, LLC, the 4-year-old filly will try natural dirt for the first time in her 21st career start. With six wins from 20 lifetime tries, she has earnings of $530,800.
Second, beaten a nose, by eventual Eclipse Award winner Stellar Wind in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Summertime Oaks here four starts back on June 20, Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Tara’s Tango seeks her first graded stakes win for Jerry Hollendorfer.
The complete field for the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Prize Exhibit, Santiago Gonzalez, 123; Ben’s Duchess, Joe Talamo, 118; Kiss At Midnight, Gary Stevens, 118; Lost Bus, Fernando Perez, 118; Tara’s Tango, Mike Smith, 118; Room for Me, Martin Garcia, 118; Living The Life, Flavien Prat, 123; Kyriaki, Mario Gutierrez, 118, and Finest City, Corey Nakatani, 118.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.