ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2015)–Attentive to a slow early pace, Hoop of Colour, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, wore down Three Hearts and Tyler Baze late to win Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita by three quarters of a length. Trained by Graham Motion, the Flaxman Holdings, Ltd. homebred covered 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:49.08.
With longshot Rusty Slipper cutting out fractions of 25.19, 49.56 and 1:13.73, Three Hearts took command approaching the quarter pole and opened up a one length advantage on the winner while getting one mile in 1:37.43. From there, Van Dyke tracked the winner three-wide turning for home and gained the advantage well inside the sixteenth pole.
“Today, right out of the gate, I was set up perfect,” said Van Dyke, who is now two for two aboard Hoop of Colour. “She broke well. The only other speed was Three Hearts and the other (Graham) Motion (trained) horse, Rusty Slipper. I got right behind Rusty Slipper and my horse threw her ears up and she was so relaxed. Near the half mile pole only two horses were in front of me, so I got out, stayed off Three Hearts’ hip and I had clear sailing from there.”
A winner of a 1 ¼ miles turf allowance in her U.S. debut at Santa Anita Feb. 5, Hoop of Colour, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Distorted Humor who was two for four in England, was off at 12-1 in a field of nine older fillies and mares and paid $26.80, $13.80 and $10.00.
A minor stakes winner in England last July, Hoop of Colour, who is out of the Unbridled mare Surya, got her first graded stakes win and improved her overall mark to 6-4-1-0. The winner’s take of $120,000 increased her earnings to $173,751.
“She’s a really nice filly, and all (of her) family, three or four of them, have been graded stakes winners,” said Alice Clapham, assistant trainer to Motion. “She’s shown a lot of talent since she’s been here…I’m sure Graham will talk to the owners…We might run her back here that mile and a quarter turf race (Grade III, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap on April 18) or she might go to Keeneland.”
Three Hearts, a Team Valor International homebred filly by Hat Trick, had been idle since running a close third in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 27, tracked Rusty Slipper early but couldn’t hold off the winner close home, finishing second, one length in front of Winning Rhythm. Off at 8-1, Three Hearts paid $10.60 and $7.20.
Last into the Club House turn, Winning Rhythm saved ground to mid-stretch and angled out leaving the eighth pole under Victor Espinoza to run third, a half length in front of Testa Rossi. The longest shot in the field at 41-1, Winning Rhythm paid $13.20 to show.
Ridden by Gary Stevens, 5-2 favorite Diversy Harbor, who came off a come from behind win in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes Feb. 16, lacked her customary late kick.
“No pace,” said Stevens in explaining his filly’s subpar effort.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday. First post time is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.