CLASSY AUTUMN FLOWER & BELLAMENTARY ADD DEPTH TO COMPETITIVE LINEUP
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 4, 2017)–Bob Baffert’s budding superstar Vale Dori towers over a field of seven fillies and mares three and up in Sunday’s Grade III, Adoration Stakes, to be run at a mile and a sixteenth over Santa Anita’s main track.
A winner of five consecutive races in virtual gate to wire fashion, the 5-year-old Argentine-bred mare comes off her best effort to date, a 1 ½ length score in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Santa Margarita–her fourth consecutive graded stakes victory.
Third to Vale Dori in her last three starts, trainer Dan Hendricks’ Autumn Flower will try to close the gap on Sunday and trainer Phil D’Amato’s multiple graded stakes placed Bellamentary could benefit should her speedy stablemate, Sensitively, opt to apply early pace pressure to Vale Dori.
VALE DORI: Favored in seven out of her eight Southern California starts for Baffert, she easily repelled reigning Eclipse Champion Female Sprinter Finest City by 1 ½ lengths in winning the Santa Margarita, thus earning a career-best Beyer Speed figure of 100. Although a well beaten third behind top mares Stellar Wind and Beholder six starts back in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes here on Oct. 1, Vale Dori has truly come to hand for Baffert in the interim and would appear ready to match strides with America’s best distaffers as she eyes a spring/summer campaign that is scheduled to include the Grade I Beholder Mile here on June 3. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, she’s now 13-8-3-1 overall and has earnings of $934,943.
AUTUMN FLOWER: According to the old saw, “When in doubt, try, try, again,” and that’s certainly the approach Hendricks is taking with regard to facing Vale Dori for the fifth consecutive time on Sunday. Third, beaten 11 lengths in the Santa Margarita, Autumn Flower will hope to benefit from what could be a very fast pace if D’Amato’s hard knocking sprinter, Sensitively, takes an aggressive early approach in what will be her first time around two turns. A 5-year Kentucky-bred mare by Flower Alley, Autumn Flower is owned by her breeders, Thomas J. Traver and Priscilla Webb. With three consecutive third place finishes in graded stakes to her credit, she’s 16-3-0-5 overall with earnings of $211,915.
BELLAMENTARY: Idle since well beaten in the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland Oct. 22, she was second in a pair of graded stakes prior to that, including a 6 ½ length loss three starts back to two-time Eclipse Champion Songbird in Santa Anita’s Grade II Summertime Oaks on June 18. Blessed with ample early zip, it’ll be up to veteran Stewart Elliott, who rides her for the first time, to ration Bellamentary’s considerable speed through what will likely be a stalking trip. Owned by Little Red Feather Racing or RM Racing, she’s 8-3-3-0 with earnings of $196,114.
THE GRADE III ADORATION STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 5 of 9 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT
- Skye Diamonds–Tiago Pereira–122
- Sensitively–Tyler Baze–122
- Bellamentary–Stewart Elliott–122
- Faithfully–Martin Garcia–122
- Autumn Flower–Martin Pedroza–122
- Vale Dori–Rafael Bejarano–126
- Lady Tapit–Mario Gutierrez–122
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. For more information, please visit santaanita.com.