ARCADIA, Calif. (March 9, 2014)–Heavily favored Judy the Beauty, idle since running second to multiple Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 2, showed her class in winning Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita by 4 ¾ lengths, negotiating six furlongs in 1:08.22.
Owned and trained by Wesley Ward, Judy the Beauty shipped in from her Gulfstream Park base and was ridden by John Velazquez, who sat a close second into the far turn and collared pacesetter Munnings Sister passing the eighth pole.
“When we came out of (the gate) I gave her a little hit (with the reigns) to come out running, and she did,” said Velazquez. “I wish I didn’t do it because we ended up being too close to the pace. It was a perfect trip though and she handled it very well. I know she can get to the lead and wait on horses, so I just showed her the whip and she went on very nicely.”
A 5-year-old Ontario-Canadian-bred mare by Ghostzapper, Judy the Beauty was off at 1-2 in a field of five older fillies and mares and paid $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $825,757. Her overall mark now stands at 14-6-7-1.
Assistant trainer Blake Heap noted the winner would be shipped soon to Kentucky and pointed to a turf stake at the upcoming Keeneland meeting next month.
Ridden by Luis Saez, eventual third place finisher Munnings Sister, who shipped in from Gulfstream for trainer Barclay Tagg, was pressed by the winner through fractions of 21.72, 44.23 and 55.98.
Heir Kitty, the second choice at 7-2 with Gary Stevens, was next-to-last after the first quarter and rallied through the lane to just touch Munnings Sister on the money, finishing second by a nose. Heir Kitty paid $3.00 and $2.20.
Off at 9-2, Munnings Sister was extra game to the wire, finishing 3 ½ lengths in front of Warm Breeze and paid $2.40 to show.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.