CALIFORNIA-BRED WARREN’S VENEDA SEEKS THIRD WIN IN-A-ROW IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $400,000 SANTA MARGARITA STAKES AT 1 1/8 MILES; RED-HOT FAIRGROUNDS INVADER CASSATT SEEKS FOURTH IN-ROW

 

PLETCHER’S UPSTART DAME DOROTHY, WHO IS OWNED BY WORLD-RENOWNED CHEF, BOBBY FLAY, STRETCHES OUT IN SEARCH OF SIXTH WIN FROM SEVEN STARTS

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 11, 2015)–Fresh off the biggest win of her career, California-bred Warren’s Veneda heads a field of seven older fillies and mares set to go 1 1/8 miles in the 78th running of the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes this Saturday at Santa Anita.

Conditioned by Craig Lewis, Warren’s Veneda followed up on an off-track win in the 1 1/16 miles Paseana Stakes Jan. 11 with an emphatic 2 ¾ length win at the same distance in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 14, which was her first graded victory. A 5-year-old mare by Affirmative, out of the Flying Continental mare More Cal Bread, Warren’s Veneda is owned by her breeder, Benjamin Warren.

Although Warren’s Veneda will try a mile and one eighth for the first time Saturday, she is at the top of her game and the way she won the Santa Maria would indicate the extra sixteenth of a mile should be well within her grasp. With an overall mark of 21-7-3-5, she has earnings of $587,612.

A winner of the Grade III Monmouth Oaks six starts back this past August, trainer Larry Jones’ Cassatt ships west from New Orleans on the heels of three consecutive gate to wire scores at three different tracks, having won the Zia Park Oaks on Nov. 26, the Tiffany Lass at Fairgrounds Dec. 21, and the Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 24.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Tapit, Cassatt appears to be the speed of the Santa Margarita field, although she could get pace pressure from Bob Baffert’s Tiz Midnight. Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Cassatt is 9-6-1-0 and has earnings of $603,033. Like the favorite, she too will try 1 1/8 miles for the first time.

A close second to the mighty Beholder four starts back in Santa Anita’s Grade I Zenyatta Stakes Sept. 27, Tiz Midnight won the Grade II Bayakoa two starts back at Los Alamitos Dec. 6, but bombed on a wet fast surface as the heavy 3-5 favorite in the Paseana Stakes Jan. 11, finishing sixth, beaten 15 ½ lengths by Warren’s Veneda. A 5-year-old mare by Midnight Lute, Tiz Midnight has come back to train well for Baffert and she’ll try to rebound on dry land Saturday.

Bred in Kentucky by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Tiz Midnight is owned by Watson, Weitman and Mike Pegram and she has an overall mark of 10-4-3-1, with earnings of $334,970.

Todd Pletcher’s upstart Dame Dorothy, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Bernardini, ships west from South Florida following a two length win in the seven furlong Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17. Owned by world-renowned chef, Bobby Flay, Dame Dorothy was a Grade III winner going 1 1/16 miles three starts back at Belmont Park Oct. 26 and has won five of her six lifetime starts. Based at Palm Beach Downs training center, she has earnings of $357,460.

Off at odds of 52-1, trainer Keith Desormeaux’s California-bred Uzziel was second, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Warren’s Veneda in the Santa Maria. Well beaten two starts back in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea Stakes Dec. 26, Uzziel has sprinter-type speed and could be dangerous contesting the early lead along with Cassatt and Tiz Midnight.

A 4-year-old filly by Harlington, Uzziel is owned by her breeders, James and Tammy McKenney and will make her second start in the care of Desormeaux. She is 12-4-1-2 overall with earnings of $199,138.

The complete field for the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card Saturday, all horses assigned 118 pounds, with jockeys in post position order: Legacy, Joe Talamo; Cassatt, Kerwin Clark; Dame Dorothy, Rafael Bejarano; Thegirlinthatsong, Mike Smith; Tiz Midnight, Martin Garcia; Uzziel, Kent Desormeaux, and Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze.

First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.