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FAVORED CAMBINA TAKES CHINA DOLL ON THE STRETCH-OUT FOR SECOND SUCCESSIVE STAKES VICTORY AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 13, 2011) – After rallying strongly to take the Grade III La Habra Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs, Irish-bred Cambina was just as forceful going one mile on turf when she stretched out Sunday to capture Santa Anita’s $80,500 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies
With Garrett Gomez back in the saddle, the smallish chestnut filly split horses in midstretch before drawing off to a three-quarter-length victory over Cathy’s Crunches while covering the distance in 1:35.70.
Although Cambina had won the Feb. 21 La Habra in dazzling fashion over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course when rallying from 11 lengths off the pace, trainer Jeff Bonde had said he thought she might be even better suited for one mile.
His theory was supported by Cambina’s performance in the ninth running of the China Doll. Backed down to 13-10 favoritism, Cambina was reserved some 7 ½ lengths off the early pace before commencing her closing bid around the far turn. She overtook Cathy’s Crunches just inside the sixteenth pole while drawing clear.
Cathy’s Crunches, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, finished 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Wallstreeter, with Brice Blanc aboard, in the field of seven. The winner paid $4.60, $3 and $2.40. The mutuels on the runner-up were $3.80 and $2.80. Wallstreeter paid $3.80 to show.
It was the third start in the United States for the victorious Irish-import. She experienced considerable trouble in her stateside debut, the Sweet Life Stakes on Jan. 22, when blocked through the stretch of the 6 ½-furlong turf event.
“She has excellent acceleration,” Gomez said following the China Doll. “I thought the mile might take away from her turn of foot, but it really didn’t. It was just as explosive as when she was coming down the hill the other day. I was very impressed.”
“She’s starting to really run good,” said Bonde. “I don’t think she has distance limitations, at least not so far. She’s a nice filly and getting better and better. She’s a very small filly, but when I started training her, she showed the mettle she’s got.”
The China Doll win realized $47,490 for owners Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline and George Schmitt. Cambina’s earnings rose to $149,886 from an overall record of 4-1-0 in eight starts. Bonde indicated that the Grade II, $150,000 Providencia Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf on April 9 would be considered for Cambina’s next start.
After three dark days, Santa Anita will resume racing on Thursday with an eight-race program that begins at 1 p.m.