EASTERN INVADERS FILIMBI & STRATHNAVER, ALONG WITH LOCALLY BASED PONTCHATRAIN & MIDWESTERNERS I’M ALREADY SEXY & EMOTIONAL KITTEN HEAD SUNDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 GOLDIKOVA STAKES

 

FILLIES TRAINED BY MOTT, MOTION, PROCTOR, CATALANO & WARD AMONG EXCEPTIONAL FIELD OF NINE FILLIES & MARES SET TO CONTEST FLAT MILE ON TURF

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2014)–Eastern based Filimbi and Strathnaver, along with four-time Santa Anita turf stakes winner Pontchatrain, head a strong field of nine fillies and mares Sunday in the Grade II, $200,000 Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita. The track’s 25-day Autumn Meet will conclude Sunday, and there is a special early first post time of 12 noon.

Trained by Bill Mott, Filimbi, who is based at Belmont Park, comes off a close third in the Grade I, one mile turf First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 4. The 5-2 favorite in a field of nine, she was forced to steady late and was beaten 1 ½ lengths on a course that was listed as “good.”

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Mizzen Mast, Filimbi pressed the pace and went on to a half length win in a one mile turf allowance four starts back at Belmont on May 21, and followed that with 1 ¾ length win going a mile on turf in a restricted stakes at Saratoga Aug. 2. Two starts back she was a well beaten sixth as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade II Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles on grass Aug. 23.

Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Filimbi began her career in France and has been favored in four out of her five stateside starts for Mott. She has four wins from seven starts at a mile on turf and is 12-5-3-3 overall with earnings of $266,263. She retains the services of regular rider Joel Rosario.

Trainer Graham Motion will be represented by Grade I stakes placed Strathnaver, who comes off a subpar effort in the Grade I, mile and a quarter turf Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 27. A 5-year-old English-bred mare, Strathnaver is winless in five starts this year but has kept good company. Second, beat a nose, four starts back in the Grade I, one mile turf Just a Game Stakes at Belmont June 7, she was second, beaten a neck in the Ballston Spa Stakes Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Strathnaver has one win from three tries at a mile on turf and is 21-5-3-1 overall. Owned by Andrew Stone, she has earnings of $417,070. Ridden by Rosario in the Flower Bowl, she’ll be handled for the first time by Rafael Bejarano on Sunday.

A winner of four Santa Anita turf stakes in-a-row (three of them graded) from Sept. 28 through Feb. 17, trainer Tom Proctor’s Pontchatrain showed speed and tired late to finish fifth as the heavy 2-5 favorite in a classified allowance going 6 ½ furlongs over the downhill turf course on Oct. 3. Two starts back, she pressed the pace and was a one length winner of the Grade II, one mile turf Buena Vista Stakes Feb. 17, and could well improve with a race under her belt.

Owned by Glen Hill Farm, Pontchatrain is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by War Front. With one win from two tries at a mile on grass, she has six wins from nine overall starts and has earnings of $446,142.

Trainer Wayne Catalano’s multiple Grade III stakes winner I’m Already Sexy comes off an impressive gate to wire score in the ungraded Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes going one mile on turf at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 13 and will command considerable respect in the Goldikova.

Sixth, beaten 2 ½ lengths two starts back in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park Aug. 16, I’m Already Sexy has two wins from four starts at a mile on turf and she should be forwardly placed on Sunday. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Ready’s Image, she’s got seven wins from 16 starts and is owned by Hit The Board Stables. She has earnings of $505,998 and will be handled by regular pilot Florent Geroux.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Emotional Kitten comes off a length and a half classified allowance win going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland Oct. 12 and will get the services of top international jockey Lanfranco Dettori. With what appears to be an abundance of early speed, Emotional Kitten, who has run her best races as a deep closer, will hope to be flying late.

A 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred filly by Kitten’s Joy, Emotional Kitten has one win from three tries at a mile on turf and is 20-5-3-3 overall with earnings of $452,503.

The complete field for the Goldikova Stakes, to be run as the ninth race on a 10-race card Sunday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Filimbi, Joel Rosario, 119; Wall of Sound, Richard Kingscote, 119; Rhagori, Joe Talamo, 119; Strathnaver, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Emotional Kitten, Lanfranco Detorri, 121; I’m Already Sexy, Florent Geroux, 119; Legacy, Victor Espinoza, 119; Pontchatrain, Mike Smith, 121, and Queen of the Sand, Corey Nakatani, 119.

                Due to a switch to Pacific Standard Time overnight Saturday, first post time on Sunday is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

 

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