Miller, O’Neill Share Honors as Top Trainer; Bejarano Top Jockey
ARCADIA, CA, June 28, 2015–Spanish Queen, who captured the Grade I American Oaks at 1 ¼ miles on turf May 30 after winning the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes on May 2, was named Horse of the Meet in the annual Spring Meet Media Poll.
A 3-year-old California-bred filly by Tribal Rule, Spanish Queen is trained by Richard Baltas for owners Harry Bederian, Harout Kamberian and Hagop Nakkashian. Spanish Queen earned more money than any horse at the meet, $360,000.
She also was named Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare.
“We’re very proud of Spanish Queen and how quickly she developed,” Baltas said. “She showed ability from the start and we’re happy she put it on display at Santa Anita.”
Next up for Spanish Queen is the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational at 1 ¼ miles on turf July 4.
Hard Aces was named Outstanding Older horse thanks to his victory in the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old Hard Spun horse trained by John Sadler for Kosta and Peter Chronis won by a paper-thin nose over Hoppertunity in a thrilling contest at a mile and a quarter that was voted Race of the Meet.
Rafael Bejarano, the runaway winner of the riding title, 47-35, over runner-up Tyler Baze, was named Outstanding Jockey, while Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill were named co-Outstanding Trainers after tying for the training title, 22-22, as O’Neill knotted Miller by winning the ninth and penultimate race of the meet with a 3-year-old filly named Mothernaturespell.
It was the first training crown at The Great Race Place for the 48-year-old Miller, who trains out of San Luis Rey Downs. It was the fourth for the 47-year-old O’Neill.
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, who captured the Grade III Adoration Stakes on June 13 for her 10th win from 11 starts at Santa Anita, was named Outstanding Older Filly or Mare. Richard Mandella trains the Henny Hughes mare for owner B. Wayne Hughes.
Talco, who rallied to win the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on turf by a half-length for the Hronis brothers and Sadler, was named Outstanding Grass Horse.
Brayan Pena, 25, was named Outstanding Apprentice by virtue of winning nine races from 75 mounts.
Kentuckian, a son of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow, was named Outstanding Three-Year-old thanks to his 6 ¼-length triumph in the Grade III Laz Barrera Stakes at seven furlongs May 10. Jerry Hollendorfer trains the gray colt for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms.
Stellar Wind, who won the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks at the Winter Meet, prevailed by a nose over Tara’s Tango in the Grade II Summertime Oaks to be named Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly. The daughter of Curlin also is trained by Sadler for the Hronis brothers. Masochistic, authoritative 3 ½-length winner of the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes, was voted Outstanding Sprinter. Trained by Ron Ellis for owners Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable, the 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Sought After won for the sixth time from eight career starts.
Persuasive Paul, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Steve Knapp, won a $40,000 claiming race on a wet/fast track by 2 ¼ lengths May 15, then came back on June 19 to capture a Starter Handicap at one mile on turf by a length and a quarter to be named Claiming Horse of the Meet.
The Hronis brothers were named Owners of the Meet thanks to three stakes wins in the last two weeks of the campaign, two of them Grade I’s, the Shoemaker Mile and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Stellar Wind captured the Grade II Summertime Oaks for the brothers, who led all owners in purse earnings with $869,946, more than $300,000 over runner-up Reddam Racing LLC.
Sadler was honored with Achievement of the Meet for winning three graded stakes–two of them Grade I’s–over the meet’s last two weeks.
2015 SANTA ANITA SPRING MEDIA POLL
Horse of the Meet: Spanish Queen
Older Horse: Hard Aces
Older Filly/Mare: Beholder
Grass Horse: Talco
Grass Filly/Mare: Spanish Queen
3-Year-Old Male: Kentuckian
3-Year-Old Filly: Stellar Wind
Claimer: Persuasive Paul
Trainer: Peter Miller, Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Apprentice: Brayan Pena
Race: Gold Cup
Owner: Hronis Racing
Achievement: Sadler Stakes Wins