ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2014)–Multiple stakes winning Sky High Gal and up and coming Biorhythm head a competitive field of seven older fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
A gutty head winner of the restricted Wishing Well Stakes down the hill on Feb. 9, the John Sadler-conditioned Sky High Gal was a close fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the Grade III Sen. Ken Maddy Stakes over the course two starts back on Nov. 2 and was a game nose winner of the one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes four starts back on Jan. 1, 2013.
Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, Sky High Gal is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Leroidesanimaux who has an abundance of early speed. The Las Cienegas will be her third consecutive engagement down the hill and she was a virtual gate to wire winner last time out. She has four wins and a second from seven starts and earnings of $173,733.
Sadler will also saddle Minds Eyes, who could well benefit from what appears to an abundance of early speed. An off the pace allowance winner down the hill in October of 2012, Minds Eyes will hope to be flying late under Edwin Maldonado. Owned by Desert Sun Stables and Michael Talla, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Macho Uno is 12-3-1-2 with earnings of $158,101.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Biorhythm ran the best race of her brief career in winning a second condition allowance down the hill in gate to wire fashion by 2 ¼ lengths on March 13–her first time over the unique 6 ½ furlong layout. Although she cut out blistering splits of 21.40, 43.00 and 1:05.80 the 4-year-old Florida-bred filly by Malibu Moon showed no signs of slowing down under top apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, getting the distance in 1:11.80.
Owned by Glen Hill Farm, Biorhythm will make her stakes debut in the Las Cienegas. She has three wins and a third from six starts, with earnings of $111,000.
Trainer Adam Kitchingman’s Tribal Spy dominated a field of California-bred fillies and mares in winning the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes gate to wire down the hill on March 15. A gem of consistency, the 4-year-old daughter of Tribal Rule has two wins, a second and a third from her last five races–all of them down the hillside turf course.
With a wealth of early speed signed on, Tribal Spy, who will be ridden by Joe Talamo, could opt to try and stalk the early pace from her number six post position. Owned by Triple B Farms, she is 14-5-3-1 overall with earnings of $238,610.
After breaking in the air and slowly, Ciao Bella Luna was an unlucky second, beaten a length, by Tribal Spy in the Irish O’Brien and will hope to replicate her half length win down the hill two starts back in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint Jan. 25.
Trained by Peter Miller and owned by Rockingham Ranch, the 4-year-old Tribal Rule filly has a win and a second from three tries over the course and is 13-4-3-0 overall with earnings of $282,110. Head and head for the early lead in her Sunshine Millions win, she draws the rail and will have to commit early if she is to employ similar tactics.
Trainer Gary Mandella will try the Las Cienegas with Irish-bred Macaabra, who was a clever half length allowance winner down the hill on Jan. 24 when ridden by French-based Flavien Prat. With the race shape seemingly in her favor, she’ll be handled by French native Brice Blanc on Saturday. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing LLC, the 4-year-old Macaabra has four wins, a second and a third from 11 lifetime starts.
The complete field for the Grade III Las Cienegas , to be run as the fifth race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Ciao Bella Luna, Martin Garcia, 120; Macaabra, Brice Blanc, 118; Llandudno, Tyler Baze, 118; Biorhythm, Draden Van Dyke, 118; Sky High Gal, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Tribal Spy, Joe Talamo, 118, and Minds Eyes, Edwin Maldonado, 118.
First post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.