VIRGINIA-BRED FILLY BY CURLIN PICKS UP 50 KENTUCKY OAKS QUALIFYING POINTS
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2015)–A one mile maiden winner on Dec. 18 at Laurel Park in Maryland, Stellar Wind burst upon the Southern California racing scene on Saturday at Santa Anita, as she motored to an impressive 2 ¾ length win in the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes under Victor Espinoza. Trained by John Sadler and owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, she swung four-wide turning for home and easily bested favored Light the City while covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.16.
“John told me to come and work her so I could know her well,” said Espinoza. “I like her, she’s so smooth and the way she worked was so nice…I wanted to break and let her do whatever she wanted to do. I didn’t want to irritate her, just make her happy…They were walking up front so I had to press the pace by the three-eighths pole. She was just waiting for me to command her. I knew I could just shake the reins at her and she would just go. I think farther would be better for her.”
Breaking from the far outside in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies, Stellar Wind relaxed well but raced wide throughout behind fractions of 23.99, 48.63, 1:13.06 and 1:36.94. Off at 7-1, she paid $16.00, $8.60 and $5.20. A Virginia-bred daughter of Curlin, she got her second win in only her third career start. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she nearly tripled her earnings to $87,200.
“She’s trained really, really well,” said Sadler. “When she got here, her hair was about this long (holding his hands about four inches apart). It was so cold in Maryland, I think she was glad to get out here in this good weather.”
When asked if the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks (1 1/16 miles on April 4) might be a consideration for Stellar Wind, Sadler replied, “That would be a logical spot at this point…I think she’s going to be better at a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter.”
One of three Jerry Hollendorfer entrants, Light the City, who came off a second place finish in the Grade I, one mile Las Virgenes on Jan. 31, sat second throughout under Kent Desormeaux at 2-1 and paid $3.60 and $2.40.
“We were similar in placement today to the Las Virgenes, but it was a completely different race,” said Desormeaux. “We were crawling today and really sprinted to the wire…She was full of run under the wire, but she had one that out-sprinted her. She’s obviously very good.”
Hollendorfer’s Glory, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, sat third into and around the far turn and was unable to improve her position, finishing third at 5-1 and returning $3.20 to show.
Hollendorfer ended up finishing two, three, four, as his Achiever’s Legacy, ridden by Gary Stevens, made a menacing move turning for home but had to settle for fourth, three quarters of a length behind Glory.
Stellar Wind picked up 50 qualifying points for the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Kentucky Oaks (to be run May 1), while the second, third and fourth place finishers each received 20, 10 and five respectively.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.