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CAMBINA LIKELY CHOICE AMONG SEVEN IN SUNDAY’S CHINA DOLL STAKES
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 10, 2011) – Irish-bred Cambina, a fast-closing winner of the Grade III La Habra Stakes in her second United States start, heads a field of seven 3-year-old fillies set to contest Santa Anita’s $75,000 China Doll Stakes at one-mile on turf Sunday.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez for trainer Jeff Bonde, Cambina rallied from 11 lengths off the pace while going 6 ½ furlongs to capture the Feb. 21 La Habra by a nose following a much troubled sixth in the Sweet Life Stakes, her U.S. debut sprinting over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
“She’s probably a better miler than a sprinter, but there haven’t been many opportunities here,” Bonde said after the La Habra. “We were hopeful we could get up.”
Bonde, who trains the chestnut filly for Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline and George Schmitt, finds his preferred distance in the China Doll. In two races at one mile in Ireland, she won and finished second in a listed event.
Gomez will be back aboard Cambina on Sunday. “She’s small, but she’s got a lot of heart and she’s got a heckuva turn of foot,” he said in the La Habra winner’s circle. Cambina has earned $102,936.
A pair of European imports making their first starts in this country, Irish-bred Singapore Lilly and British-bred Up In Time, appear to be serious contenders.
Singapore Lilly, who makes her first start for trainer Jim Cassidy, finished second in a Grade I competition in Italy last October before running third in a Group III event, both at one mile. Victor Espinoza has the mount on owner Jeffrey DeHaven’s import who won $124,193 in Europe while posting a 2-1-3 record in nine starts.
Up In Time, who joins the stable of Simon Callaghan, started but three times in England with a seven-length score coming in her maiden win at Newmarket last September. Joel Rosario will ride the daughter of Noverre owned by Anthony Ramsden.
The complete field for the China Doll Stakes, with jockeys and trainers in post position order: Recipient, Joe Talamo, 115; Cambina, Garrett Gomez, 119; Singapore Lilly, Victor Espinoza, 119; Wallstreeter, Brice Blanc, 115; Cathy’s Crunches, 119; Up In Time, Joel Rosario, 115, and Secret Cove, Martin Pedroza, 115.
The China Doll is scheduled as the eighth race on a nine-race program. First post is at 12:30 p.m.