ARCADIA, Calif. (April 4, 2014)–Theatre Star made her Southern California debut in style on Friday at Santa Anita, as she strode to an impressive three quarter length win under a confident hand ride from Gary Stevens in the day’s $60,000 allowance feature for older fillies and mares, getting 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.52.
A 4-year-old filly by top sire War Front, Theatre Star had won three straight for trainer Dale Romans, most recently on Feb. 27 at Gulfstream. Purchased privately by Glen Hill Farm immediately thereafter, she ran first time today for the high percentage tandem of Stevens and trainer Tom Proctor, who won for the 11th time from 29 pairings at the current meet–a 38 percent win clip.
Breaking from the outside in a field of nine, Theatre Star was keen early with Stevens who was able to tuck into a ground saving position in second, just in behind pacesetter Viva Carina and jockey Victor Espinoza.
“She worked really nice and even in the two workouts she’s had with us and she’s acted like she’s something special,” said Aimee Dollase, assistant to Proctor. “We figured she would show speed and Gary just let her do what she wanted. It’s nice that he was able to teach her to rate off others as well. That’s going to help her in the long run. She won today, well within herself, and it looks like she’s something special.”
Off as the 9-5 favorite, Theatre Star paid $5.60, $4.00 and $2.80. In collecting her fourth win from her fifth start, she picked up $36,000, hiking her bankroll to $103,400.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Rhagori, off at 4-1, was taken off the pace early while full of run and charged up the rail going to the far turn, found room a furlong out and although unable to get on terms with the winner, was clearly second-best, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of third place finisher Moulin de Mougin.
The third choice in the wagering, Rhagori paid $4.80 and $3.20.
Moulin de Mougin, the second choice at 5-2 with Mike Smith, stalked the early pace and ran evenly through the lane, finishing a half length in front of longshot Lady Asano. Moulin de Mougin paid $2.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.26, 48.02, 1:12.34 and 1:35.98.
Special early first post time for an 11-race card tomorrow, Santa Anita Derby Day, is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.