ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 22, 2017)–Hronis Racing’s Artistic Diva made an easy lead and dictated proceedings throughout as she sped to a 2 ¼ length victory in Sunday’s $70,000 Anoakia Stakes. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by John Sadler, the Illinois-bred daughter of Munnings got six furlongs in 1:10.84.
A first-out maiden winner going five furlongs on turf Aug. 24, Artistic Diva, who sold for $425,000 at the Ocala Breeders 2-year old in training sale in April, was making her second career start on Sunday.
“She had worked in nine and four (fifths of a second, for one eighth of a mile) at a 2-year-old in training sale, so we knew she was fast,” said Sadler. “She struggles a little in the morning with the dirt, but we knew she could handle it. We ran her on grass first time out at Del Mar because I had so many 2-year-old fillies, I had to separate them.”
Off at 5-1 in a field of five juvenile fillies, Artistic Diva paid $13.80, $4.80 and $3.60. With the winner’s share of $42,900, she increased her earnings to $78,900.
“Going into this race, I knew I would probably be on the lead but I wanted to go a bit slower,” said Espinoza, who also rode her first time out. “She has natural speed, she’s pretty fast. We train her in the mornings to relax but it doesn’t really work out…Over time, I think she’ll settle and the good thing about her is that we know she can run on turf and the dirt.”
A maiden special weight winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos on Sept. 8, Steph Being Steph finished well, holding favored Just a Smidge at bay by 1 ½ lengths for the place.
Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Steph Being Steph was off at 10-1 and paid $6.80 and $3.20.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Just a Smidge rallied for the show, but never threatened the top two while finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Secret Spice. Off at 3-2, Just a Smidge paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.72, 44.98 and 57.48.