MELAIR ONE OF FIVE STAKES CARDED ON CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH DAY AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 23, 2014)–Trainer Mike Machowsky’s Rovenna will shoot for her third consecutive win as she heads a field of eight sophomore fillies bred or sired in California in Saturday’s $250,000 Melair Stakes at Santa Anita.
A 3 ¼ length Cal-bred allowance winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Feb. 17, Rovenna came back at the same distance in the Cal-bred Evening Jewel Stakes on April 5, winning by 2 ¾ lengths under Victor Espinoza, who rides her back in the Melair.
Owned by her breeder, Donald Dizney, Rovenna was a first-out open maiden special weight winner at Calder on July 19, 2013, and has made her last seven starts in Southern California for Machowsky. Although winless from two tries routing, she ran a respectable third in the state-bred Golden State Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Nov. 1, and was a close third in the one mile turf Cal Cup Oaks Jan. 25.
By Vronsky, Rovenna has amassed earnings of $257,760 from an overall mark of 8-3-1-3.
Jerry Hollendorfer’s Swiss Lake Yodeler, who defeated Rovenna by a length in the seven furlong Soviet Problem Stakes four starts back on Dec. 21, and by 2 ¼ lengths in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies five back, will try to rebound following a 24 ¾ length defeat in the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park March 22.
Owned by her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, the daughter of Swiss Yodeler is 7-3-1-1 with earnings of $248,850.
Veteran trainer Hector Palma has a “now” commodity in Magic Spot, who will be seeking her third win in-a-row in her first added money engagement. A one mile turf maiden winner versus state-breds two starts back on Feb. 7, the Papa Clem filly was an impressive gate to wire Cal-bred allowance winner on March 21. With Rafael Bejarano opting to ride Swiss Lake Yodeler, Magic Spot will be handled for the first time by Mike Smith.
Owned by BG Stable and Palma, Magic Spot has two wins and two thirds from five starts.
Second, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Rovenna in the 6 ½ furlong Evening Jewel, trainer Steve Knapp’s consistent Harlington’s Rose will stretch out off of three consecutive sprints. Her only other main track try at the distance came seven starts back in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Chandelier Stakes on Sept. 28, a race in which she finished a well beaten fourth. A filly by the Unbridled stallion Harlington, she has earnings of $188,290 for an overall mark of 12-2-4-0. She’s owned by Thomas Halasz, Ryan Johnson, Paul Newhart, Martha Miller and Steve Knapp.
With a win, a second and a third from four starts on grass, trainer Craig Dollase’s Anniversary Kitty will try dirt for the first time in the Melair. A close second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the one mile turf Cal Cup Oaks three starts back, she finished a nose in front of Rovenna and will hope to act with her again on the main track Saturday.
A daughter of top California-based sire Tribal Rule, Anniversary Kitty is owned by Highlander Racing Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds. She’ll again be ridden by Martin Garcia, who rode her to a third-place finish as the 6-5 favorite in a one mile Cal-bred turf allowance April 11.
Reddam Racing, LLC’s homebred Versye, a filly by Square Eddie, was a first-out state-bred maiden special weight winner going six furlongs on Sept. 28, and will stretch out in her second career start under Mario Gutierrez for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Trainer Eric Kruljac’s Shakeitupbetty was a handy 3 ¾ length Cal-bred maiden special weight winner as the even money favorite April 3 and should show plenty of early lick in her first start around two turns. Owned by Seltzer Thoroughbreds, the daughter of Ghostzapper has a win, a second and two thirds from four starts.
Fourth, beaten 11 ½ lengths at 5-2 by Rovenna in a Cal-bred allowance going 6 ½ furlongs Feb. 17, Wonderful Lie will be reunited with Corey Nakatani, who guided her to first-out maiden score going 5 ½ furlongs on Jan. 20. Owned by Victor Racing, Joel Altobello, Dave Kenney, Tom Bolyard and partners, the daughter of Bedford Falls will make her third start in the Melair.
The complete field for the Melair Stakes, to be run as the ninth race on an 11-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Swiss Lake Yodeler, Rafael Bejarano, 125; Rovenna, Victor Espinoza, 123; Wonderful Lie, Corey Nakatani, 118; Magic Spot, Mike Smith, 120; Anniversary Kitty, Martin Garcia, 118; Versye, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Shakeitupbetty, Joe Talamo, 118, and Harlington’s Rose, Tyler Baze, 120.
First post time on Saturday, California Gold Rush Day, is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.