SANTA ANITA OPENING DAY FEATURE FOR FILLIES & MARES LURES FIELD OF 14 AT ONE MILE ON TURF
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 1, 2016)–With 15 older fillies and mare entered, a wide-open field of 14 will contest Thursday’s Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at one mile on turf. With first post time set at 2 p.m., the Royal Heroine will headline an eight-race card on opening day of Santa Anita’s 40-day Spring Meet, which will run through July 10.
Favoritism could likely befall trainer Phil D’Amato’s Fanticola, who stretches out off a close third place finish in the 6 ½ furlong Las Cienegas Stakes April 10, which, due to rain, was moved from Santa Anita’s hillside turf course to the main track.
FANTICOLA: Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino, Fanticola is the defending champ in the Royal Heroine, having won last year’s running four starts back on June 27, 2015. Idle since running fourth in the Grade I, 1 ¼ miles turf Rodeo Drive Stakes on Sept. 26, the 6-year-old mare by Silent Name likely needed her race in the Las Cienegas and gets her preferred trip on Thursday, as she has three wins, a second and a third from five tries at one mile on grass. Naturally quick, Fanticola can be expected to make or press the early pace under regular rider Joe Talamo.
HER EMMYNENCY: A winner of the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles turf Queen Elizabeth Stakes three starts back at Keeneland on Oct. 10, “Emmy” made the early lead and ended up a disappointing fifth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade II Santa Ana, will shorten up a furlong as she makes her third start for trainer Kristin Mulhall in the Royal Heroine. Owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash, the 4-year-old Successful Appeal filly was an impressive 2 ¾ length winner of Santa Anita’s one mile turf Surfer Girl Stakes in her third career start on Oct. 5, 2014. With four wins from nine starts, she has earnings of $556,250.
ELEKTRUM: Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, this 5-year-old Irish-bred mare rallied to win the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf John C. Mabee Stakes four starts back at Del Mar on Aug. 8 and she’s been idle since running second as the 5-2 favorite in the Grade III, 1 3/8 miles turf Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar on Nov. 21. Trained by John Sadler, the 5-year-old daughter of High Chaparral has a win and three seconds from six tries at a mile on turf and would be well served by a fast pace in the Royal Heroine, which will be her ninth stateside start. Her overall mark stands at 18-4-6-2 and she has earnings of $391,438.
GLORY: Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, this consistent 4-year-old daughter of Tapit pressed the pace, made the lead turning for home and finished second, beaten a neck, in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Santa Ana Stakes on March 26. Second to Nancy From Nairobi as the 3-2 favorite in a third condition allowance going a mile on turf March 4, Glory, who has been placed in three graded stakes, seeks her first stakes victory in the Royal Heroine. Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Glory is winless in two tries at a mile on turf and has an overall mark of 12-3-4-2.
HAVANNA BELLE: Trained by Phil D’Amato and owned by Michael House, this 4-year-old Irish-bred filly comes off a monstrous 6 ½ length win here in a one mile classified allowance on April 7 and could be the “now” horse with Flavien Prat riding back. A 2 ¼ length winner of the 1 ½ miles turf Astra Stakes three starts back on Jan. 17, Havanna Belle seeks her first graded win in the Royal Heroine. She has three wins, a second and a third from six tries at one mile on turf and has four wins from 16 overall starts.
NANCY FROM NAIROBI: Despite the fact Santa Anita’s temporary inner rail was set at 30 feet, Nancy From Nairobi displayed an eye catching turn of foot as she rallied to win a third condition allowance going a mile on grass by 2 ½ lengths on March 4. A 1 ¼ length allowance winner here going 1 1/8 miles on turf Feb. 5, this 5-year-old English-bred mare seeks her third win in a row for Hronis Racing, LLC and trainer John Sadler. With two wins and a second from three tries at a mile on turf, “Nancy” seeks her first graded stakes win on Thursday in what will be her fifth stateside start.
THE GRADE II ROYAL HEROINE STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 8 (of 8) Approximate post time, 5:30 p.m. PDT
- Her Emmynency–Tyler Baze–122
- Smoove It–Fernando Perez–120
- Nancy From Nairobi–Abel Lezcano–120
- Prize Exhibit–Santiago Gonzalez–122
- La Berma–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Elektrum–Victor Espinoza–122
- Keri Belle–Alex Solis–120
- Living The Life–Martin Garcia–120
- Sharla Rae–Tiago Pereira–122
- Havanna Belle–Flavien Prat–120
- Glory–Mike Smith–120
- Fasnacloich–Brice Blanc–120
- Faufiler–Drayden Van Dyke–120
- Fanticola–Joe Talamo–122
First post time on Thursday at Santa Anita is at 2 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.