BALTAS CELEBRATES 54TH BIRTHDAY IN STYLE WITH CALIFORNIA-BRED FILLY BY TRIBAL RULE
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 30, 2015)–California-bred Spanish Queen called upon her considerable class to rally three wide turning for home en route to a three quarter length win in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 American Oaks at Santa Anita. Ridden by Brice Blanc and trained by Richard Baltas, who celebrated his 54th birthday, the 3-year-old filly by the late Tribal Rule negotiated 1 ¼ miles on turf in 2:01.93 and stamped herself as one of the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies.
Owned by her breeders, Jack Nakkashian, Harry Bederian and Harout Kamberian, Spanish Queen was heavily favored at 3-5 in a field of six sophomore distaffers and paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10. .
“My saddle slipped a little bit and it affected my steering because she was a little aggressive when that happened,” said Blanc, who has ridden Spanish Queen in all of her starts. “The more I pulled on her, the more the saddle moved forward so I was a little…I wouldn’t say out of control, but I had to give and take a little more so it wouldn’t move any further on me.
“…She keeps improving and she loves her job. She has started trusting me more so I can do a little more with her…She’s on the bridle but waiting for me to ask her to pick it up. She does it in a way that doesn’t affect her breathing and she does it nicely; that’s why she’s able to accelerate like she does the second part of the race.”
Lightly raced, Spanish Queen, who came off a 1 ½ length win in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Honeymoon Stakes May 3, notched her third win from four starts and with the winner’s share of $240,000, increased her earnings to $423,600.
“I was never favored in a Grade I race like I was today with Spanish Queen,” said Baltas, who got his first Grade I win last summer with Big Macher in the Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. “There’s so much pressure and when you win, there’s a big sigh of congratulations and relief. This is a very special horse and I just got lucky to get her. This is the best birthday present I could ever have.”
Sent to the lead by Tyler Baze, runner-up Feathered, who came off a Grade III win at Churchill Downs on May 1 and shipped in from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, set contested fractions of 23.97, 47.68, 1:12.24 and 1:36.70, and settled for second money, three quarters of a length in front of Consumer Credit. Off at 5-1, Feathered paid $4.80 and $3.40.
“I really didn’t know her, so I watched replays of her races and it looked like she tried hard and never quit in her races and that’s how she ran today,” said Baze. “If we could’ve gotten a breather somewhere in the middle of the race, I think maybe we could’ve won today.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat, trainer Chad Brown’s Consumer Credit was in close attendance but trailed early while saving ground, shifted out into the four path a furlong from home and was third best. Off at 5-1, she paid $2.80 to show.