ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2014)–Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred Let Faith Arise stalked the early pace under confident handling from Corey Nakatani and went on to an impressive 1 ¾ win in Saturday’s Grade I, $350,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.70.
Run for the 77th time, the Santa Margarita attracted a field of seven older fillies and mares and many expected 7-5 favorite Iotapa to clear the field early, but it was 5-2 second choice Fiftyshadesofhay, ridden by Martin Garcia, who made the lead narrowly after a quarter mile and although they were head and head, she, along with Let Faith Arise and Iotapa, set reasonable splits of 23.45, 47.55, 1:11.67 and 1:36.25.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Let Faith Arise was between horses while running three-abreast leaving the three furlong pole when Nakatani called upon his mount as he sat between Fiftyshadesofhay to his inside and Iotapa, with Joe Talamo, to his outside.
“She’s a very willing filly and she’s kept going forward for Jerry and Dan (assistant trainer, Ward),” said Nakatani. “…She’s been training well coming into this race and she’s only getting better. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Let Faith Arise, the third choice in the wagering at 4-1, paid $10.60, $3.80 and $3.20. In winning her fifth race from 10 starts, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Kafwain more than doubled her earnings to $380,240.
“We didn’t really expect to be on the front-end, but since she broke well, Corey let her run and keep running,” said Hollendorfer. “That was the right decision, obviously. It’s good to win a Grade I with her. We’ll regroup here and pick another race. It might be here or back east.”
Trained by John Sadler, Iotapa came off a gate to wire win in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes Feb. 15, but had to settle for second money in the Santa Margarita.
“It was an absolutely perfect trip,” said Talamo. “I was a knock off the winner the whole way. We just got outrun today.”
Iotapa finished a half length in front of Stanwyck and paid $3.00 and $2.60.
Next to last after a half mile, Stanwyck, off at 5-1 with Gary Stevens, rallied well to be third, finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of Spellbound, who made an eye-catching move from last around the far turn but flattened out in the drive under Victor Espinoza.
Stanwyck paid $3.80 to show.
Let Faith Arise provided Tom Stull’s Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, with their first-ever Grade I homebred victory.
“This is our first Grade I win so it’s pretty nice to get this,” said Stull. “I was pretty emotional coming down the stretch. The three of them were hooked up and you just knew something had to give. I thought Iotapa might keep going, but Let Faith Arise just dug in.”