ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 12, 2016)–Nick Alexander’s homebred Enola Gray and Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s Long Hot Summer, both conditioned by Phil D’Amato, figure prominently in Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap, to be run at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
For fillies and mares three and up bred or sired in California, the Cal Distaff, which was won last year by Joe Parker’s Our Pure Creation, will be run for the fourth time and be contested by a field of five.
ENOLA GRAY: Undefeated in three starts prior to running second at odds of 1-5 against open company in the six furlong Beverly J. Lewis Stakes at Los Alamitos Sept. 11, this 3-year-old gray daughter of Grazen will try turf for the first time as she gets back to state-bred completion. Blessed with extraordinary early speed, Enola Gray, a two-time stakes winner versus Cal-breds, won her first three races by a combined 26 ¼ lengths and will hope to pose an elusive front-running target under regular rider Tyler Baze.
LONG HOT SUMMER: D’Amato hopes to “have ’em surrounded,” as this 4-year-old filly by Street Boss will hope to replicate her off the pace victory in a five furlong turf classified allowance on Sept. 2. If Enola Gray and the Mike Puype-trained Home Journey duel early, it could set up nicely for Long Hot Summer, who has two wins and a second from three hillside tries. Second in the Grade III, one mile turf Senorita Stakes here seven starts back on June 27, 2015, Long Hot Summer could well go favored as she sports an overall mark of 12-5-2-1 with earnings of $341,875.
HOME JOURNEY: Drawn on the far outside with “Big Money” Mike Smith up, she has the advantage of rationing her speed while pressuring Enola Gray down the hillside. A gate to wire winner of the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes here in April, 2015 as a 5-year-old, this 6-year-old mare by Good Journey has a win and two seconds from five trips down the hill. Owned by GGG Stables and Russell Sarno, Home Journey pressed the pace and finished fifth, beaten 1 ¾ lengths, in her most recent start, the five furlong turf Daisycutter Handicap on Aug. 5. She’ll be ridden for the third time by Smith, who guided her to victory in a first condition allowance at Hollywood Park in June, 2013. Her overall mark stands at 19-5-6-1 and she has earnings of $357,009.
THE CALIFORNIA DISTAFF HANDICAP IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 3 of 9 Approximate post time 1:30 p.m. PST
- Desert Steel–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Long Hot Summer–Joe Talamo–125
- Enola Gray–Tyler Baze–121
- Out Ofthe Ordinary–Jamie Theriot–117
- Home Journey–Mike Smith–122
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.