ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2016)–A close fourth with a troubled early trip in her most recent start, English-bred Miss Sugars added blinkers and was up to win Thursday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita by a head under Tyler Baze as she stopped the clock for one mile on turf in 1:36.24.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, Miss Sugars was closer to the early pace with the equipment change and was three-wide turning for home while third behind pacesetter Princess Roi, who dug in tenaciously to finish second in a three-way photo for the win.
“In England, they don’t have anybody with them in the gate and since this is only her third start here, they load me and then we’re on our own,” said Baze. “She broke great today and the trip we got worked out just the way we wanted it to. We were up closer and able to save ground early and around the far turn I took a look back and just decided to let her kick before the others did.
“She tries really hard and Jeff’s been a big part of my career. It’s great to end up the year winning a race like this for him.”
Off at 6-1 in a field of 10 juvenile fillies, Miss Sugars paid $14.60, $7.00 and $5.00.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, LLC, she improved her record to 8-2-3-1. With the winner’s share of $46,800, she increased her earnings to $71,985.
“Well today, we didn’t have to go through the steeplechase deal,” Mullins said, as he laughingly referred to a weather related obstruction that caused Miss Sugars to lose some ground into the first turn of the Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 26. “The blinkers helped her lay closer to the pace today and it made Tyler’s job a little easier. We’ll keep her on the grass.”
Ridden by a comebacking Corey Nakatani, Princess Roi was pressured throughout by eventual third place finisher Tap It All, but dug in resolutely at the rail to nab the place by a nose. Off at 15-1, Princess Roi paid $15.00 and $12.00.
“I love this filly,” said Nakatani. “We got pressure and for her to fight back like she did, shows her class. I really want to thank Richard (trainer, Baltas) for putting me on her. I’ve been working horses for him and this was a good opportunity.”
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Tap It All broke from post position eight and vied for the lead with Princess Roi throughout and just missed winning. Off at 28-1, Tap It All paid $12.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.49, 47.67, 1:12.35 and 1:24.29.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.