ARCADIA, Calif. (March 26, 2016)–With Glory and Mike Smith seemingly headed for victory, Florida invader Tuttipaesi split horses and shot through a gap two paths off the rail to grab Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes by a neck as veteran jockey Chris DeCarlo scored in his first-ever appearance at The Great Race Place. Trained by Bill Mott, Irish-bred Tuttipaesi covered 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.82.
Breaking from the outside in a field of five older fillies and mares, 6-year-old Tuttipaesi settled nicely off the pace and was full of run around the far turn.
“She’s tactical,” said DeCarlo, 47. “Going down the backside, Alex (Solis, on Fresh Feline) kind of came out and I didn’t want to lose my cover and have to be three-wide all the way around. I was able to tuck in behind Mike (Smith, aboard Glory) the whole way, his horse was running well.
“At the top of the lane it was tight. I didn’t have anywhere to go but there was a little separation at the eighth pole and once she got her head in there, she was able to muscle her way through. She’s a tough filly, she’s a fighter. She’s the kind you want. She won’t back away from a challenge.”
Owned by Kentucky-based Valor Ladies, LLC (a sister company to Team Valor, Int.), Tuttipaesi, who is based with Mott at Payson Park Training Center in South Florida, was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $7.40, $3.60 and $2.80. Third in a Grade III Stakes at Gulfstream Park Jan. 9, Tuttipaesi collected her first graded stakes win and improved her overall mark to 17-7-2-3. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $495,929.
“I didn’t have to tell Chris anything,” said Riley Mott, son of and assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “He did a good job. She was in tight turning for home but was pretty valiant. I wasn’t sure (she’d win) until 100 yards from the line, when she got out. I know she’s game. She showed it in her previous races. This is a pretty special win.”
Glory, who overtook favored Her Emmynency turning for home, stalked the favorite through fractions of 24.50, 48.51, 1:12.14 and 1:36.33.
“I had to move a bit earlier than I wanted to,” said Smith. “Going into the far turn, Fresh Feline came up on our outside and when that happened, I had to go with them and it turned into too long of a run. In saying that, she ran too good to lose.”
Off at 7-2, Glory, who finished three quarters of a length in front of Fresh Feline, paid $3.60 and $3.00.
Fresh Feline proved third-best at 18-1 and paid $4.00 to show.
Her Emmynency, who broke from the rail with Joe Talamo up, was very erratic out of the gate but settled into a steady stride on the lead and caved readily when challenged three sixteenths out, finishing last.
First post time for a 10-race program on Easter Sunday at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.