SANTA ANITA’S 40-DAY SPRING MEET UNDERWAY; ADMISSION GATES OPEN ON FRIDAY AT 7:15 A.M.
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 5, 2016)–Well placed at the rail around the far turn, English-bred Nancy From Nairobi wheeled three-wide turning for home and unleashed a devastating turn of foot to take Thursday’s Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes by a half length over favored Faufiler. Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Abel Lezcano, Nancy From Nairobi stopped the clock after a flat mile on turf in 1:37.12.
Ridden by Lezcano in all five of her stateside starts, Nancy From Nairobi registered her third win in a row and got her first ever graded stakes victory in the process.
“The Gamely ($300,000, Grade I at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 30) will be next,” said Sadler. “My other mare, Elektrum, ran well too, went through traffic and came flying to be fifth. So we should have two for the Gamely, although we might try to separate them.”
Off at 5-1 in a full field of 14 older fillies and mares, Nancy From Nairobi paid $12.20, $6.40 and $4.20. Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, she picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $271,456. She now has three wins and a second from five starts over the Santa Anita lawn.
“The turf was soft, so it basically fit her, she likes that,” said Lezcano. “I just had my hands down on her and I waited, waited…In the stretch, I had no traffic. I was on the outside and I was in the clear, no complaints.”
Last after a half mile, Irish-bred Faufiler, who shipped in from Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, came flying down the middle of the course but ran out of real estate late while finishing second, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Fanticola.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Faufiler was off at 9-2 and paid $5.60 and $4.20.
Fanticola, who won last year’s Royal Heroine and broke from the extreme outside today, attended the pace with Joe Talamo up, made the lead briefly inside the furlong pole and stayed gamely for third, finishing a half length in front of Havanna Belle.
Off at 11-1, Fanticola paid $9.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.88, 47.49, 1:12.28 and 1:24.79.
With Santa Anita’s 40-day Spring Meet underway, admission gates will open early on Friday, Kentucky Oaks Day, at 7:15 a.m. The Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes, which has been carded as race six, will highlight a nine-race program. There is a Pick Six carryover into Friday of $32,393 and first post time is at 2 p.m.