ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2014)–Multiple stakes winners Marks Mine and Unusual Hottie figure prominently in Saturday’s $125,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s Camino Real hillside turf course, a race that attracted a field of 11 older distaffers bred or sired in California.
Based at Golden Gate Fields and trained by Steve Specht, Marks Mine is a three-time stakes winner who comes off a facile 4 ½ length classified allowance win going six furlongs on Dec. 26.
A speedy 4-year-old filly by Benchmark, Marks Mine won the Golden Gate Debutante at two, and went on to win the California State Fair Sprint Handicap at Sacramento this past July 20 and the six furlong Harvest Stakes on Sept. 28 at Stockton.
Owned by her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, Marks Mine was off the board in her only career turf try, a one mile classified allowance Nov. 17 at Golden Gate Fields.
The Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint distance should be more to her liking however, and she’ll hope to improve upon an overall record of 14-7-3-2. She’ll be handled by her regular pilot, Frank Alvarado, who has guided her to victories in four out of her last five starts.
A two-time stakes winner, the Jeff Mullins-trained Unusual Hottie has been idle since well beaten by the highly regarded Pontchatrain in the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy Stakes down the hill Nov. 2.
Although winless from three starts down the hillside course, she was a close third in the California Cup Distaff, run Oct. 13, 2012, and will hope to be rolling late under Rafael Bejarano. A 5-year-old mare by Unusual Heat, Unusual Hottie was bred by Ali Nilforushan Equestrian, LLC, and is owned by Seyyed M. Nilforushan.
She has earnings of $389,778 from an overall mark of 17-7-4-3.
Trainer Adam Kitchingman’s Tribal Spy comes off a clever gate to wire win in a first condition allowance down the hill Dec. 29 and is drawn well in post 10. A 4-year-old filly by Tribal Rule, she was a good second to Ponchatrain in the 6 ½ furlong turf Unzip Me Stakes three starts back on Sept. 28, and will try the hill for the fourth time on Saturday.
Owned by Triple B Farms, she has four wins and three seconds from 12 lifetime starts.
Lightly raced This Means War could prove dangerous as well, as the Harris Farms homebred comes off an impressive six furlong turf allowance win Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park and will be bidding for her third consecutive win Saturday.
Prior to her win Dec. 8, the 5-year-old War Chant mare had been Idle since Aug. 30, 2012. Trained by Dean Pederson, This Means War will be ridden by Joe Talamo, who has been aboard for all six of her career starts. She has three wins, a second and a third to her credit and drilled an impressive five furlongs on Hollywood Park’s main track in 59.80 on Jan. 19–third best of 39 at the distance.
Kathleen Rose, a 4-year-old filly by Good Journey, will cut back in distance off a half length statebred allowance win going a mile on grass Dec. 27. Trained by Mike Machowsky, the B & B Zietz Stables, Inc. homebred was an impressive maiden winner down the hill two starts back on Nov. 3.
Kathleen Rose, ridden by Rafael Bejarano in her most recent, seeks her third consecutive win and will break from the rail with Corey Nakatani. Along with her two wins, she has a pair of seconds from five starts.
The complete field for the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, to be run as the fifth race on a 10-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Kathleen Rose, Corey Nakatani, 120; Journey On, Martin Pedroza, 120; Heat Du Jour, Patrick Valenzuela, 120; Marks Mine, Frank Alvarado, 123; Runfasterelse, Julien Couton, 118; Sudden Sunday, Tyler Baze, 118; This Means War, Joe Talamo, 120; Unusual Hottie, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Warren’s Flasher, Alex Bisono, 118; Tribal Spy, Irving Orozco, 120, and Ciao Bella Luna, Kent Desormeaux, 118.
There is a special early first post time of 12 noon Saturday. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.