ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2014)–Ridden by Mike Smith, English-bred Birdlover got a perfect stalking trip coming down Santa Anita’s 6 ½ furlong hillside turf course and was up to win Friday’s $60,000 Saturn Purse allowance by a length over pacesetting Kinz Funky Monkey and Joe Talamo, covering the distance in 1:11.76. The Saturn attracted a field of nine older fillies and mares, with two of them entered for an optional claiming tag of $62,500.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Birdlover’s last win came five starts back in the one mile turf China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita March 9.
“I had a brilliant trip,” said Smith. “Doug drew up the play, just like a basketball game with all the X’s and O’s and it worked. The play was brilliant. He said he wanted to stalk today instead of going for the lead, sit back in the pocket, work our way out down the lane and she should finish for me. He was 100 percent right.”
Off at 8-1, Birdlover paid $19.00, $9.00 and $7.20. Owned by Robert Cseplo, Steven Keh, Daniel Kramer and W.C. Racing, Birdlover picked up $36,000 for the win, boosting her earnings to $156,635.
Kinz Funky Monkey, off at 6-1, made an uncontested lead and had a three length advantage with Talamo after a half mile and was two lengths clear of Birdlover when she made the dirt crossing at the top of the lane. She paid $7.00 and $6.60.
Australian-bred Remise was far back early with Corey Nakatani and just missed the place, finising a neck behind Kinz Funky Monkey. Off at 11-1, she paid $9.40 to show and finished a length in front of 9-5 favorite Blues and Silvers, who was ridden by Gary Stevens.
Blues and Silvers sat second down the hill but lacked the necessary punch through the lane. She was claimed out of the race from trainer Mike Puype by Bob Hess, Jr.
Kinz Funky Monkey set fractions of 21.94, 43.19 and 1:05.67.
Santa Anita will present a nine-race card on Saturday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. The track will guarantee $150,000 in Saturday’s Pick Six pool, which will cover races four through nine.
Two Grade II, $200,000 stakes, the San Gabriel and the Santa Ynez, along with the $75,000 Midnight Lute Stakes, will highlight the day’s racing.