ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2018)–A romping 11 ¼ lengths winner of a minor stakes at Woodbine Nov. 19, trainer Mark Casse’s Win the War heads a field of nine lightly raced sophomore fillies in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs on Sunday.
Unbeaten in two starts in Toronto, the Kentucky-bred daughter of War Front earned a dazzling Santa Ynez best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 93 in her most recent triumph, which was at the Santa Ynez distance of seven furlongs.
In what appears to be a wide-open fray for the minors, Peter Miller’s impressive first-out maiden winner War Heroine, Bill Spawr’s Midnight Bisou and John Sadler’s Artistic Diva are all in sharp recent form and along with the top selection, will trying graded stakes competition for the first time.
WIN THE WAR
Owner: Gary Barber and John Oxley Trainer: Mark Casse
A $700,000 Fasig Tipton August yearling purchase, she debuted on a soft turf going 6 ½ furlongs at Woodbine Oct. 20 and responded with a nose victory when facing eight rivals as the 2-1 favorite. Dispatched at 9-2 in a field of six on Nov. 19, she torched the track going seven furlongs over a synthetic surface with veteran Patrick Husbands aboard. With 2015 Eclipse Champion Apprentice Tyler Gaffalione named to ride for the first time, Win the War is proven at the distance, but will try natural dirt for the first time in her Southern California debut.
Owner: Gary Barber Trainer: Peter Miller
Purchased for $37,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, War Heroine is a Kentucky-bred by the relatively unknown stallion Lonhro. Dismissed at 8-1 in her debut Nov. 12 at Del Mar, she responded with a 6 ¾ length tally going 6 ½ furlongs against seven rivals. Formerly headquartered at San Luis Rey Downs Training Center, War Heroine is now based with Miller at Del Mar and she’ll retain the service of Flavien Prat for her initial stakes engagement on Sunday.
Owner: Bloom Racing Stable, LLC and Allen Racing, LLC Trainer: Bill Spawr
A pair of noses away from being unbeaten, this Kentucky-bred daughter of Midnight Lute has finished well in both of her starts, the first a six furlong maiden special weight here on Oct. 27 and her most recent, a minor seven furlong stakes at Del Mar Nov. 18. Both defeats came at the hands of Bob Baffert’s Dream Tree, who stretched out to 1 1/16 miles to take the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos on Dec. 9. Ridden by Tiago Pereira and Rafael Bejarano in her first two starts, she’ll be handled for the first time on Saturday by Mike Smith, which will no-doubt generate additional pari-mutuel intrigue.
Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC Trainer: John Sadler
A $425,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase in Ocala, Fla., this past March, this Illinois-bred filly by Munnings comes off a convincing 2 ¼ length win in the six furlong Anoakia Stakes here on Oct. 22, which followed a game 1 ½ length first-out maiden win going five furlongs over the Del Mar turf Aug. 24. Unbeaten, she retains the service of Victor Espinoza and could be tough to deny in her third start.
THE GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA YNEZ STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT
- Artistic Diva–Victor Espinoza–120
- Steph Being Steph–Stewart Elliott–120
- Streetwithnoname–Joe Talamo–120
- Allianna–Kent Desormeaux–120
- War Heroine–Flavien Prat–120
- Yesterday’s News–Mario Gutierrez
- Win the War–Tyler Gaffalione–120
- Midnight Bisou–Mike Smith–120
- Just a Smidge–Drayden Van Dyke–120
First post time for an eight-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com.