ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2015)–Favored Sam’s Sister rallied wide-out to take Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita, as the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee covered seven furlongs in 1:22.42 under Elvis Trujillo.
By 2006 Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek, Sam’s Sister employed tactics similar to those used in an upset win in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26. Fourth into the far turn behind a three-horse duel comprised of eventual runner-up Sweet Marini, Dancinthenightaway and My Sweet Addiction, Sam’s Sister pounced on the leaders midway around the turn and wrested the lead from Sweet Marini inside the sixteenth pole.
“It was the perfect trip,” said Trujillo, who has been aboard for all six of Sam’s Sister’s career starts. “I knew there was going to be a lot of speed in there and I knew it would be fast early-on (22.10, 43.87 and 1:08.71). But I knew that sooner or later they would have to stop. She’s a nice filly.”
Off at 6-5, Sam’s Sister paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.20. Owned by Mark Dedomenico, LLC, Hollendorfer and George Todaro, she picked up her fifth win and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $427,450.
“We got a 22 and 43 (quarter and half mile fractions), so it makes it a little easier to close ground,” said Hollendorfer, who registered his meet-leading sixth stakes win. “We thought that might happen, but then when Dancinthenightaway kind of shook loose a little bit, it looked a little bit risky. But we were able to sustain and run her down in the end.
“I’m just taking these races one at a time (when asked if she might stretch out next time). We thought she would run long (entered and scratched out of this past Saturday’s La Canada Stakes at 1 1/16 miles), but we thought this was a more advantageous race, so that’s why we went here.”
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Sweet Marini slugged it out on the front end and was second-best, finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front of Harlington’s Rose. Off at 5-1, Sweet Marini paid $3.40 and $2.80.
Off at 10-1, Harlington’s Rose ran from well off the pace under Joe Talamo and paid $4.60 to show.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.