ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2015) – Stakes winner Velvet Mesquite returns once again to the surface she has clearly excelled over on Saturday. Velvet Mesquite will take on 13 rivals in the Sunshine Millions Cal Cup Day’s edition of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course.
Owned and bred by Harris Farms and trained by Blake Heap, the 5 year-old mare was a strong third in the Gr. II Monrovia down the hillside in her last out Jan. 4. A staggering five for seven when running over the course, Velvet Mesquite will seek her second stakes win Saturday. By In Excess out of the Huddle Up mare Mesquite, Velvet Mesquite is 11-5-2-1 overall with earnings of $284,606.
A hillside professional in her own right, Carla Gaines’ Heat Trap comes off a second place finish in the Gr. II Monrovia. Owned and bred by Mark Devereaux and Scott Gross, the 6- year-old will break from the far outside with regular rider Victor Espinoza in an attempt to win her first-ever stakes race.
By Unusual Heat, Heat Trap has two wins, two seconds and a third from five tries down the hill. She is 12-4-5-1- overall with earnings of $291,956.
Current leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will send out Doinghardtimeagain in only her second-ever attempt down the hill. Owned and bred by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, the 5-year-old has run in 15 straight stakes races.
In her latest turf try, the mare by Ministers Wild Cat was pulled up and vanned off in the one mile Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar Aug. 17. Jockey Mike Smith said it was purely precautionary and that “I knew she had a foot issue before and I felt her feet were stinging her so I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Third in the 6 ½ furlong Kalookan Queen Dec. 28, Doinghardtimeagain will again be reunited with Elvis Trujillo, who when paired with Hollendorfer has been in the money 55% of the time this meet.
The complete field for Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint Stakes, to be run as the seventh race on a ten-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: More Complexity, Mario Gutierrez, 123; Air of Royalty, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Home Journey, Tyler Baze, 120; Velvet Mesquite, Mike Smith, 123; Tribal Gal, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Heavens Stairway, Corey Nakatani, 120; Go West Marie, Gary Stevens, 123; Doinghardtimeagain, Elvis Trujillo, 123; Kathleen Rose, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Shakeitupbetty, Alex Solis, 118; My Monet, Martin Garcia, 120; Marks Mine, Frank Alvarado, 118; Magic Spot, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Heat Trap, Victor Espinoza, 120.
There is a specialfirst post time on Saturday of 12:00 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:00 a.m.