ARCADIA, Calif. (April 13, 2014)–Stormy Lucy and Rafael Bejarano have developed a very successful relationship. Ridden for the second time in-a-row by Santa Anita’s leading jockey, the 5-year-old mare by Stormy Atlantic followed her win in the Grade II Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita March 16 with a thrilling come-from-behind neck victory in Sunday’s Grade III, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap as she negotiated 1 ¼ miles on turf in 1:58.73.
Trained in her previous 21 starts by Frank Lucarelli, she was sold privately to Lucarelli’s high school friend Steve Moger following the Santa Ana win and was trained for the first time by Steve’s brother, Ed Moger.
Fifth at the quarter pole, about 3 ½ lengths off the lead, Bejarano wheeled five wide turning for home and in a desperate finish, was up to tag Serendipity and Brice Blanc in the shadow of the wire.
“Her last race, she was rank when she was behind horses but today she relaxed,” said Bejarano. “She and I were really comfortable the whole way, all the way to the three eighths pole. So, I was confident to come around and let her go.
“I knew how much horse I had at the three eighths and I knew she was going to show me a big kick. I just wanted to make sure I was clear and away from any trouble.”
The 8-5 favorite in a field of eight older fillies and mares, Stormy Lucy paid $5.40, $3.00 and $2.60. The Santa Barbara was her seventh win from 22 starts and with the winner’s share of $90,000, she increased her earnings to $482,200.
“Everything went well,” said Ed Moger. “The horse was ready-made when I got her. Rafael rode the same race he did in the Santa Ana. Last time he came inside, this time he went around. I was a little worried when he was that wide, but I guess he knew what he had.”
Moger indicated that Stormy Lucy would stay at Santa Anita and be pointed to the Grade I, $300,000 Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 26.
Trained by Ron McAnally, Argentine-bred Miss Serendipity sat a close fourth past the wire for the first time while into the bit and saved ground to the five sixteenths, when she angled out three wide and gained what appeared to be a commanding one length lead with a furlong to go.
“She got out-kicked late but she did everything perfect,” said Blanc. “She was better today, she relaxed a lot and she quickened a lot more too…My mare ran her heart out…As soon as she gets adapted to the American way I think she’ll have a bright future.”
The third choice at 7-2, Miss Serendipity finished 4 ¼ lengths in front of Changethechannel and Tyler Baze and paid $4.60 and $3.80.
Changethechannel, who sat a close second to the quarter pole, was off at 12-1 and paid $5.80 to show.
Longshot Phonybooksnrecords, off at 50-1, tired to finish fifth after setting fractions of 23.73, 47.58, 1:11.48 and 1:35.00.
Second choice Customer Base, off at 3-1, was never a factor and finished last.
Santa Anita will be dark until next Saturday, closing weekend of the current Winter Meet. First post time on both Saturday and Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.