CLASSY ENOLA GRAY TO FACE SHARP DISTAFFERS BERT’S MELODY, ROO’S VALENTINE AND OTHERS IN WIDE OPEN $100,000 IRISH O’BRIEN AT 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN HILLSIDE TURF ON SATURDAY

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2017)–Nick Alexander’s classy homebred Enola Gray will face sharp  allowance winners Bert’s Melody, Roo’s Valentine and others in Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.  The Irish O’Brien, for older fillies and mares bred or sired in California, attracted a deep and competitive field of 10 and will serve as Saturday’s co-feature, along with the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes.

 

                ENOLA GRAY:  A respectable third two starts back in the Grade I La Brea Stakes here on Dec. 26, she returned to state-bred competition in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf on Jan. 28 and responded with a dominating 3 ¼ length win over the course at 3-5.  Trained by Phil D’Amato, the 4-year-old daughter of Alexander’s Grazen is unbeaten in two starts down the hill and looms the horse to beat on Saturday.

 

BERT’S MELODY: Owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. John Barr’s Oakcrest Stable, Bert’s Melody has been idle since winning the one mile turf Fran’s Valentine Stakes versus state-breds here on May 28, a race in which she got a career-best 90 Beyer Speed figure.  Trained by Sean McCarthy, she’s winless in two tries down the hill, but she was a close fourth, beaten one length, in the 2015 Irish O’Brien.

 

ROO’S VALENTINE: Trained by Kristin Mulhall, she comes off a half length win down the hill against open company in a second condition allowance at odds of 24-1 on Feb. 10 and looks to be a solid fit in Saturday’s Irish O’Brien.  Martin Pedroza, who has been aboard for all four of her wins, is set to ride back on Saturday.  Owned and bred by Kretz Racing, LLC, the 4-year-old filly by Vronsky figures to press the pace in her second lifetime start over the course.

 

THE IRISH O’BRIEN STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 7 of 10                                                                                                        Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

 

  1. Chaulk O Lattey–Rafael Bejarano–120
  2. Roo’s Valentine–Martin Pedroza–122
  3. Enola Gray–Tyler Baze–124
  4. Desert Steel–Flavien Prat–122
  5. Lily Kai–Stewart Elliott–122
  6. Bert’s Melody–Brice Blanc–120
  7. Smoove It–Mario Gutierrez–120
  8. Cuddle Alert–Corey Nakatani–124
  9. Emmy and I–Joe Talamo–122
  10. Late ‘n Left–Edwin Maldonado–120

First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m.  Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.  For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.