ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2015)–Fresh off victory in the opening day La Brea Stakes, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Sam’s Sister heads a field of seven older fillies and mares in Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at seven furlongs.
Off at 12-1 in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea, Sam’s Sister was also entered in Saturday’s Grade II, 1 1/16 miles La Canada Stakes, but appears more likely to go as the probable favorite in the Santa Monica, which will highlight a special nine-race card on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Owned by Mark Dedomenico, Hollendorfer and George Todaro, Sam’s Sister rallied late to take the La Brea on Dec. 26 by a half length and will again be piloted by regular rider Elvis Trujillo. With four wins from five starts, Sam’s Sister provided 2006 Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek with his first-ever Grade I winner. Bred in Kentucky, Sam’s Sister is a perfect two for two at seven furlongs and has earnings of $307,450.
Second, beaten a head by Sam’s Sister in a seven furlong allowance on Oct. 13, Pamela Ziebarth’s homebred My Sweet Addiction would appear to rate a big chance with Gary Stevens engaged to ride for trainer Marty Jones. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Tiznow, speedy My Sweet Addiction has been training forwardly at Los Alamitos and will try to improve upon an impressive overall mark of 6-2-2-2. She has earnings of $104,656.
Trainer Mark Glatt’s undefeated Dancinthenightaway has won her three starts by a combined 8 ¼ lengths and will test stakes company for the first time. Like My Sweet Addiction, Dancinthenightaway likes to run on the lead and those two figure to ensure a lively pace. A 4-year-old California-bred filly by Indian Charlie, she is owned by her breeders, Al and Sandee Kirkwood. Out of the General Meeting mare Last Dance for Me, Dancinthenightaway will be ridden for the first time by Tyler Baze.
Owner Kaleem Shah’s Sweet Marini is another California-bred on a roll as she’ll seek her third consecutive win in the Santa Monica. Trained by Bob Baffert, the 5-year-old mare by Marino Marini was heavily favored in a pair of 5 ½ furlong allowance scores at Los Alamitos in December and although she was a winner of the seven furlong Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar as a 3-year-old, she’ll be trying for her first graded stakes win.
In addition to the Fleet Treat, Sweet Marini has one other seven furlong race on her resume, a second place finish in the Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar three starts back on Nov. 9. Favored in seven of her 12 lifetime starts, Sweet Marini has five wins and earnings of $371,418.
Trainer Steve Knapp’s Harlington’s Rose comes off an upset win in the 6 ½ furlong Kalookan Queen Stakes Dec. 28 and could pose a late threat in the Santa Monica. Fourth in the Kalookan Queen, Master the Blues will break from the rail with Kent Desormeaux, who is always dangerous when paired with trainer Bob Hess, Jr. Maser the Blues, a 6-year-old mare by Master Command, has seven wins from 22 lifetime starts.
Eighth in the Kalookan Queen, well-traveled Lexington Pearl will make her second start off a long layoff on Monday for trainer Peter Miller and rates an upset chance. With a win and a second from four tries at seven furlongs, the 6-year-old Elusive Quality mare is 29-9-3-5 overall and has earnings of $167,344.
The complete field for the Santa Monica Stakes, to be run as the fifth race on a nine-race card, with jockeys and weights in post positon order; Master the Blues, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Dancinthenightaway, Tyler Baze, 118; Lexington Pearl, Victor Espinoza, 118; Sam’s Sister, Elvis Trujillo, 123; Harlington’s Rose, Joe Talamo, 118; My Sweet Addiction, Gary Stevens, 118, and Sweet Marini, Martin Garcia, 118.
First post time on Monday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.