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SIZZLING SADLER GAINS EIGHTH GRADED STAKES WIN WITH COMEBACKING COZI ROSIE IN GRADE II BUENA VISTA; BONDE STRIKES AGAIN WITH CAMBINA IN GRADE III LA HABRA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2011) – Without multiple Grade I winner Evening Jewel to deal with, comebacking Cozi Rosie uncorked a sizzling rally to spurt past pace-setter Briecat Monday and win Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares by a widening 1 ¼ lengths while covering one mile over a “good” turf course in 1:35.94.
The victory by the 4-year-old filly, who had not raced since losing by a head to Evening Jewel in the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 31, provided trainer John Sadler with his eighth graded stakes win of the meet that began Dec. 26. That averages out to a graded stakes victory each week of a season that completed its eighth week on Monday. “I’m not counting,” Sadler said in reaction. “I’m just enjoying it and working hard.”
Following the early morning defection of Evening Jewel, Jerry and Ann Moss’s 4-year-old homebred daughter of Pleasantly Perfect mowed down her nine opponents with Hall of Famer Mike Smith keeping Cozi Rosie safely on the extreme outside through the stretch.
Briecat, who assumed the lead early, led much of the distance under the urging of Patrick Valenzuela. At the wire, Briecat nosed out 7-2 favorite Malibu Pier with Rafael Bejarano aboard for the place.
Millionaire Evening Jewel, last week named 2010 California-bred of the Year by the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, was scratched earlier in the day by trainer Jim Cassidy. Evening Jewel, the morning line favorite, was to carry high weight of 122 pounds and break from the extreme outside in post No. 11.
“It’s a disadvantage going a mile, certainly,” commented Cassidy. “We’ve got a lot going against us. We’re the high weight, the rail is at 15-feet, we’re in the 11 hole, and the ground might be a little soft.” The alternative for the 4-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet has become next Saturday’s $100,000 Valentine Dancer Handicap for Cal-breds at one mile on turf.
Cozi Rosie, assigned post position No. 3, seized on the absence of Evening Jewel to deliver a dominant performance. The 8 ½-month break had been her first in a career that had begun in November of 2009.
“She went off last year where we weren’t happy with her,” said Sadler. “The Mosses are great if you have an issue and you want to do something for the horse. We were happy to see the speed in this race because she wants to come off the pace. That’s when she really got good last year, when she relaxed in the end and closed good. It was a perfect ride. Mike Smith just let her settle and stayed off the speed.”
“There was certainly a sense of relief when I saw Evening Jewel scratch out of the race,” said Smith. “She’s very talented and she has tactical speed. She would have been making the first run and I would have had to try and run her down.
“My horse is sharp and she got away well. I opted to get her clear real quick down the backside just because she’s a big filly and I needed to give her some room. I didn’t care about going wide because I already saved ground on the first turn, and she ran dynamite. I’m telling you, she has an abundance of talent.”
Cozi Rosie, sent off as the 5-1 third choice in a field reduced to 10 by additional late scratches of Prytania and Restless Soul, paid $13, $7.80 and $4.80. The mutuels on Briecat were $7 and $5.60. Malibu Pier paid $3.40 to show.
The victory was the fourth in nine career starts for Cozi Rosie. The winner’s share of the Buena Vista purse, $90,000, elevated her career earnings to $247,280.
The earlier Grade III, $100,000 La Habra Stakes capped a stellar holiday weekend for Northern California-based trainer Jeff Bonde when Irish-bred Cambina came flying to nose out Quiet Oasis in the 6 ½-furlong turf event for 3-year-old fillies.
The outcome gave Northern California-based Bonde his second graded stakes victory within three days after his crack sprinter Smiling Tiger had captured Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Carlos Handicap. In between, Bonde’s promising 3-year-old Sway Away ran a sparkling second to heavily favored The Factor in the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes.
Under Garrett Gomez, Cambina rallied from last in a field of 11 to nail Quiet Oasis at the wire in the 38th running of the La Habra. It was her second start in the United States after a troubled sixth in Santa Anita’s January 22 Sweet Life Stakes and her first with Gomez aboard. The winning time was 1:13.75 over a downhill turf course labeled “good.”
“She’s small,” Gomez said afterward, “but she’s got a lot of heart, and she’s got a heckuva turn of foot. I thought we were going to win easy, but that filly inside of us (Quiet Oasis) kept fighting back. I thought I got the bob, but she’s so small, and when they’re so far apart, it’s really tough to tell who got to the wire first.”
Runner-up Quiet Oasis, another Irish-bred who was making her second U.S. start after a seventh-place finish in the Grade II Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, finished two lengths ahead of third-place Cathy’s Crunch. She was ridden by Joel Rosario. Cloneylass, the 2-1 favorite, checked in fourth. Late scratches were A Z Warrior, Bloemer Girl and Hout Bay.
“There was enough pace in the race that we thought she’d get a good setup,” Bonde said of the winner, “and basically, she did. She’s probably a better miler than a sprinter, but there haven’t been many opportunities here, and we were hopeful that we could get up at this distance.”
At odds of 3-1, Cambina was the second choice. She paid $8.80, $4.40 and $3.60. Quiet Oasis returned $5.40 and $4.40. The show price on Cathy’s Crunches, who was handled by Bejarano, was $5.40. Owned by a partnership that includes Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline and George Schmitt, Cambina earned $60,000 from her first U.S. win. Her earnings became $102,936 from an overall record of 3-1-0 in seven career starts.
Following the holiday racing program on Monday, Santa Anita will be dark on Tuesday and Wednesday before action resumes on Thursday with a program of eight races beginning at 1 p.m.