170 HIGHLY COVETED KENTUCKY OAKS QUALIFYING POINTS UP FOR GRABS IN WIDE OPEN AFFAIR
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 1, 2015)–Budding star Stellar Wind seeks her second consecutive graded stakes win as she heads a wide open field of eight sophomore fillies in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks at a mile and one sixteenth.
Sold privately to Hronis Racing, LLC following an 8 ¾ length maiden win at Laurel Park, Maryland on Dec. 18, Stellar Wind debuted for trainer John Sadler in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Santa Ysabel Stakes Feb. 28, and rallied from off the pace to register an impressive 2 ¾ length win at odds of 7-1. A Virginia-bred filly by Curlin, Stellar Wind broke slowly in the Santa Ysabel, but easily defeated 2-1 favorite Light the City, who she’ll again face on Saturday. With two wins from three starts, Stellar Wind has made $87,200 and will again be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Trainer Matt Chew’s up and coming Singing Kitty, who was claimed four starts back on Dec. 11 for $32,000, comes off consecutive one mile turf wins in the California Cup Oaks on Jan. 24 and the China Doll Stakes on March 7 and will bid for her third straight win under Aaron Gryder in the Oaks.
A California-bred filly by Ministers Wild Cat, Singing Kitty is owned by Chris Aulds and Peter Jeong. Although she tries graded competition for the first time, she’s a versatile sort, who has two wins from three starts on dirt and four wins from eight overall starts, good for earnings of $235,378.
Second in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes going one mile two starts back on Jan. 31, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Light the City stalked the pace in the Grade III Santa Ysabel Feb. 28, but was second best at odds of 2-1. A Kentucky-bred filly by Street Sense, she is 6-2-2-1 overall with earnings of $186,900. She is owned by Cheyenne Stables, LLC.
Bob Baffert’s lightly raced Luminance looms large in the Oaks as the Kentucky-bred filly by Tale of the Cat tries to remain unbeaten in her third career start. A first-out maiden winner going five furlongs at Del Mar July 20, she broke slowly and was just up to win a one mile allowance at Santa Anita on Feb. 28. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., she’ll again be ridden by Martin Garcia and will try to provide her connections with half of a highly coveted Grade I Daily Double that would include stablemate Dortmund winning the $1 million Santa Anita Derby.
Hollendorfer will also saddle Glory, who was third, beaten 4 ¼ lengths by Stellar Wind in the Grade III Santa Ysabel and who will be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano. Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Glory, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit, is 4-1-2-1, with earnings of $64,000.
Second, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Singing Kitty in the one mile turf China Doll Stakes March 7, Warren B. Williamson’s homebred Curlin’s Fox was a first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Feb. 1 and will try dirt for the first time for trainer Carla Gaines. The even money favorite in the China Doll, Curlin’s Fox was 3-5 in her debut and will hope to be rolling late under regular pilot Mike Smith.
Richard Mandella’s Wild at Heart has done little wrong, as she’s finished no worse than second in three starts, including a nose defeat to Luminance in a one mile allowance here on Feb. 28. A Kentucky-bred filly by Indian Charlie, she is owned by Ramona Bass and will be again be ridden by Flavien Prat.
With a total of 170 qualifying points at stake for the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on May 1, the winner will receive 100 points, second- 40, third-20 and the fourth place finisher receives 10 points.
With all horses assigned 122 pounds, the Santa Anita Oaks will be run as the seventh race on an 11-race card. Here’s the field, with jockeys in post position order: Light the City, Kent Desormeaux; Glory, Rafael Bejarano; Curlin’s Fox, Mike Smith; Singing Kitty, Aaron Gryder; Luminance, Martin Garcia; Stellar Wind, Victor Espinoza; Wild At Heart, Flavien Prat, and She’s a Big Winner, Brice Blanc.
Special early first post time with the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby highlighting the program will be at 12 noon on Saturday. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.