ARCADIA, Calif. (May 7, 2015)–Favored Havanna Belle looked beaten in deep stretch, but the Irish-bred filly surged close home to take Thursday’s $58,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita by a neck, covering one mile on turf under Rafael Bejarano in 1:38.83. Owned by Michael House and trained by Phil D’Amato, she came off a close fifth place finish in the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles turf Providencia Stakes on April 4, and registered her first win from three stateside starts.
“She broke much better today and we stayed closer to the pace because it didn’t look like there was that much speed in the race,” said Bejarano. “She added blinkers today and she was on the bit and into the race a little more. She really ran strong through the stretch.”
Off at 4-5 in a field of six 3-year-old fillies, Havanna Belle paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10.
“The blinkers were all Rafael’s idea,” said D’Amato. “He didn’t think she was as focused as she should have been in her last race…Turning for home, I was thinking we would get second and she just came with a big run at the end. She galloped out twenty in front, literally, and I think the longer the better with her. The American Oaks (Grade I, 1 ¼ miles turf on May 30) is coming up and I definitely want to go longer with her.”
By Teofilo, Havanna Belle got her second win from nine overall starts. With the winner’s share of $34,800, she increased her earnings to $52,781.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Frosty Friday, who controlled the race through splits of 25.08, 49.96, 1:14.78 and 1:26.65 appeared to have matters in-hand but was no match for the winner on the money. Off at 8-1, Frosty Friday finished a head in front of Show Stealer and paid $5.40 and $3.00.
Ridden by Gary Stevens, Show Stealer pressed the pace from the rail and prevailed by a half length over Miss Double d’Oro for the show and paid $3.20.
First post time for an eight-race card on Friday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.