ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2015)–Confidently handled by Tyler Baze, heavily favored Heavens Stairway pounced on longshot pacesetter Mark of a Gem approaching the furlong pole and went on to an impressive 3 ¼ length win in Thursday’s $60,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita while covering 6 ½ furlongs down the track’s hillside turf course in 1:11.98.
Well beaten after stumbling at the break in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint on Jan. 24, she broke sharply today and settled nicely behind splits of 21.67, 43.44 and 1:06.25.
“She stumbled out of the gate last time (with Corey Nakatani up) and she didn’t have a very good trip that day,” said Baze, who is now a perfect three for three with her. “I had a great trip today. The pace was set up in front of me and I was sitting in a beautiful spot. She’s a very nice filly.”
A course specialist, the Marty Jones-trained Heavens Stairway picked up her fifth lifetime win, all of them coming from six tries down the unique hillside layout. Off at 7-5 in a field of nine older fillies and mares, she paid $4.80, $3.40 and $2.80. A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Decarchy, Heavens Stairway was bred by Joshua Litt and AJM Racing and is owned by AJM Racing, LLC and J B K Stable. In her 11th overall start, she picked up $46,800 for the win, increasing her earnings to $183,560.
“She got away from there a lot better today,” said Jones. “She just followed Mark of a Gem and she couldn’t have had a better trip. Tyler gets along with her really well. She loves running down the hill, she just needs a fair run at it.”
Kool Kat sat third down the hill under a snug hold from Santiago Gonzalez and finished second, one length in front of a fast finishing Grazenette. Off at 11-1, Kool Kat paid $9.00 and $6.20.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Grazenette finished third, three quarters of a length in front of pacesetting Mark of a Gem. Off at 12-1, Grazenette paid $5.20 to show.
First post time on Friday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.