MARATHON AFFAIR FOR OLDER FILLIES & MARES ATTRACTS WIDE-OPEN FIELD OF 11
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 11, 2018)–In what shapes up as a completely wide-open race, Evo Campo, Estrechada, How Unusual and Scandal would appear to head a field of 11 older fillies and mares in Sunday’s $75,000 Astra Stakes, to be contested at a mile and one half over the Santa Anita turf.
Owner: David Day, Michael Day and Mary DePietro Trainer: Paddy Gallagher
Fifth at odds of 3-1 in the Grade III Red Carpet Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf Nov. 23, this 6-year-old Irish-bred mare was a galloping 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes at a mile and one half on turf three starts back on April 30 and was a minor stakes winner over the course at the same distance in May of 2016. Unbeaten in her two starts at 1 ½ miles on turf and with five out of her six wins coming over the Santa Anita lawn, Evo Campo is 15-6-1-2 overall and could rate top billing on Sunday.
Owner: Slugo Racing Trainer: Mike Puype
A distant fifth in the Grade II Marathon going 1 ¾ miles on turf at Del Mar Nov. 3, Argentine-bred Estrechada ventured to New York this past summer for three turf engagements, winning the Grade III, 1 ½ mile Waya Stakes at Saratoga three starts back prior to running fourth in the Grade III Glenn Falls Stakes there two starts back on Sept. 2. A close third to Evo Campo in the Grade III Santa Barbara April 30, she was second in last year’s Astra, in what was her U.S. debut. With proven class and a 5-1-1-2 mark at the Astra distance, Estrechada merits respect on Sunday.
Owner: Pender Racing, LLC, Bob Fetkin, Hunter Sill and Christopher Hilaire Trainer: Mike Pender
With a rousing stretch rally, she was up to win the Grade III Red Carpet Handicap by a half length on Nov. 23 and is bidding for her third consecutive win in the Astra. A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Unusual Heat, she’s never been better, evidenced by her career-top Beyer Speed figure of 92 last time out. With four of her five lifetime wins coming over the Santa Anita turf, How Unusual, who will again be ridden by Corey Nakatani, should have plenty of early pace to run at in what will be her 20 lifetime start.
Owner: Ramona Bass, LLC, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider Trainer: Richard Mandella
Although she has but one win to her credit, a gutty nose victory in a first condition allowance going 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar Nov. 23, this 6-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Blame could employ similar tactics with Mike Smith back aboard and is thus dangerous as she tries winners for only the second time. With an overall mark of 16-1-9-3, it should be noted that she finished first with Smith in what was her fifth career start, a 1 1/8 mile turf maiden special here on May 25, 2015, but she was disqualified and placed third.
THE $75,000 ASTRA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
- Lucy De–Kent Desormeaux–120
- Queen Blossom–Brice Blanc–120
- La Manta Gris–Flavien Prat–122
- Scandal–Mike Smith–120
- How Unusual–Corey Nakatani–124
- Plein Air–Tyler Baze–120
- Sweet Connie–Drayden Van Dyke–120
- Shazara–Tiago Pereira–120
- Antonina–Rajiv Maragh–120
- Estrechada–Stewart Elliott–124
- Evo Campo–Rafael Bejarano–124
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.