FANTICOLA, QUEEN OF THE SAND, WALK CLOSE, INDUSTRIAL POLICY & HABIBI ALL LEND DEPTH
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 15, 2015)–Neil Drysdale’s Three Hearts and Tom Proctor’s Diversy Harbor, who both exit Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ana Stakes on March 15, head a competitive field of nine older fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade III, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
A game second, beaten three quarters of a length in the 1 1/8 miles turf Santa Ana, Team Valor International’s homebred Three Hearts pressed the pace, made the lead approaching the quarter pole and just missed at 8-1. A 5-year-old mare by the Sunday Silence stallion Hat Trick, she was third, beaten a neck two starts back in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes Dec. 27 and was a half length winner of the Grade III, 1 3/8 miles turf Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 22.
Bred in Kentucky, Three Hearts is 16-3-4-4 overall with earnings of $244,249.
Dispatched as the 5-2 favorite in the Santa Ana, Diversy Harbor, who had roared to victory from well off the pace in the Grade II, one mile turf Buena Vista Stakes Feb. 16, was victimized by a slow pace, finishing sixth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths.
“No pace,” is how Gary Stevens summarized his Santa Ana fortunes as Diversy Harbor had sat well off splits of 25.19, 49.56, 1:13.73 and 1:37.43. Owned by Glen Hill Farm, Diversy Harbor is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Curlin who bested Three Hearts three starts back in the Robert J. Frankel, finishing second, beaten a nose.
With an overall mark of 11-3-4-1, Diversy Harbor will hope for a lively pace as she tries to pad her bankroll of $377,440.
Trainer Phil D’Amato’s Fanticola will likely ensure a solid pace, as she pressed the early running in the 6 ½ furlong downhill turf Wishing Well Stakes Feb. 8, finishing third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths. A gate to wire winner of the one mile turf Megahertz Stakes Jan. 17, the 5-year-old Ontario-Canadian mare by Silent Name is fresh and should be winging early.
Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Fanticola seeks her first graded stakes win and is 14-4-3-6 overall with earnings of $258,300.
Trainer Paddy Gallagher’s Irish-bred Queen of The Sand, who was a close second two starts back in the Grade I, one mile turf Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 30, was unable to muster a rally from off the pace in the Santa Ana March 15, finishing eighth, beaten 5 ½ lengths.
Like Diversy Harbor, Queen of The Sand needs a lively pace to flatter her late run. Owned by Derrick Fisher, she is 22-7-2-3 overall with earnings of $253,920. She’ll be ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke.
Trainer Mark Casse’s Industrial Policy and Richard Mandella’s Habibi finished second and third in a one mile turf allowance March 22 and would appear to be “live” in Saturday’s Santa Barbara. Industrial Policy, who is one for one at 1 ¼ miles on turf, will make her third start of the year Saturday, while New Zealand-bred Habibi makes her second start off a roughly nine-month layoff.
One of several deep closers, trainer Eoin Harty’s Arethusa was a close third in last year’s Grade I, one Las Virgenes on the main track and she comes off a confidence-building first condition turf allowance win at 1 1/8 miles March 7. She’ll make her third start off an eight-month vacation and will be ridden back by Kent Desormeaux.
The complete field for the Santa Barbara, to be run as the seventh race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Three Hearts, Tyler Baze, 119; Tangelo, Mario Gutierrez, 111; Fanticola, Joe Talamo, 117; Queen of The Sand, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Walk Close, Victor Espinoza, 116; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens, 120; Industrial Policy, Brice Blanc, 115; Habibi, Flavien Prat, 116, and Arethusa, Kent Desormeaux, 114.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.