SISTER MOON, AT 1-5 ODDS, UPSET BY ISMENE IN $80,600 ANOAKIA

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 22, 2011) – Nearly two months after her record-setting debut at Del Mar, Sister Moon failed to replicate that electrifying performance Saturday when unable to overtake front-running Ismene in Santa Anita’s $80,600 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Bet down to 1-5 favoritism in a field of six, Sister Moon broke awkwardly, but made a swooping move from fifth to take aim on Ismene, the 7-1 third choice. Sister Moon, however, came up one length short in the race run in 1:08.91.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela for trainer Bill Spawr, Ismene sped through fractions of 21.92, 44.30 and 55.84 while unmolested. Sister Moon, handled by Joel Rosario, never did catch up in the gallop-out after the pair crossed the wire. It was 7 ¾ lengths back to third-pace Evelyn’s Dancer.

The winner and runner-up had made their racing debuts eight days apart at Del Mar. After Ismene scored by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:04 for 5 ½ furlongs on Aug. 13, Sister Moon’s debut on Aug. 21 resulted in a victory by 9 ¾ lengths in Polytrack-record time of 1:02.70 for the distance.

“She’s the real deal,” Spawr said of the California-bred daughter of Tribal Rule he trains for owner-breeder Stephen Ferraro. “We’re just giving her time and letting her mature because I think she could be special.”

Spawr’s pre-race instructions to Valenzuela became a matter of interpretation. “I told him to make one run, but we have P. Val, so. . .” Spawr said before hesitating. “He (Valenzuela) did say he took her back and made one run,” the trainer continued, “but we were on the front.”

Prior to the Anoakia, John Sadler said he, too, was taking his time with the homebred Dixie Union filly he trains for Jerry and Ann Moss. “When she won at Del Mar,” he said, “she ran so big, bigger than we thought, we wanted to give her extra time.”

According to Rosario, Sister Moon “broke a little bit slow” in the Anoakia. He added, “But the winner was really fresh. . .really quick out of the gate. And it was the first time for my filly on the dirt.”

Ismene paid $16.40, $3.60 and $2.40 while the place and show prices on Sister Moon were $2.10. Evelyn’s Dancer, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, paid $5.20 to show. The winner earned $52,830 to bring her two-race total to $90,630.

The $65,000 Uniformity Stakes, for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs on turf, heads Sunday’s nine-race program with first post at 1 p.m.

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