CONTENTIOUS GRADE II LAS PALMAS STAKES ENDS AUTUMN MEET SUNDAY

ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 2, 2011) – Santa Anita concludes its 24-day Autumn Meet on Sunday with eight fillies and mares set to contest the 42nd running of the Grade II, $150,000 Las Palmas Stakes at one mile on turf.

The contention includes four entrants cutting back in distance from 1 ¼ miles on turf after fighting it out in the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Oct. 11. Three of the four will be guided by a new rider at the shorter distance.

Malibu Pier, who went off at odds of 9-2 in the Yellow Ribbon before fading to eighth behind victorious Dubawi Heights, will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario.

Turning Top, who gamely held on for fourth in the Yellow Ribbon after setting the pace while dismissed at odds of 46-1, will have Mike Smith aboard Sunday. Turning Top came within a neck of winning last year’s Las Palmas when third behind Briecat and Westwood Pride.

City to City, seventh in the Yellow Ribbon at odds of 26-1, will be partnered by Garrett Gomez, whose only previous experience aboard the filly resulted in a 5-1 upset victory in Del Mar’s Grade II Palomar Handicap on Sept. 11.

Peruvian-bred Private Affair, who ran sixth in the Yellow Ribbon at 13-1, retains the riding services of Hector Berrios for her third start in the United States. The 4-year-old filly, trained by Ruben Cardenas for Green Grass Stable, was a 2 ½ length winner of her U.S. debut in Del Mar’s CTT&TOC Handicap on Aug. 26.

A 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly trained by Carla Gaines for Spendthrift Farm, Malibu Pier has won three graded stakes this year: the Santa Ana Stakes and Santa Barbara Handicap, both Grade II competitions, during Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet, and the Grade III Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in June. She has earned $457,200 from six victories in 13 starts.

Irish-bred Turning Top, trained by Simon Callaghan for Michael Tabor, has posted a 6-3-4 mark in 25 lifetime starts for earnings of $300,443. The 5-year-old mare will be looking to escape a 10-race losing streak that dates back to winning the 2010 Beverly Hills Handicap.

City to City, a 4-year-old City Zip filly, has been a consistent sort evidenced by a 6-4-5 record in 20 starts for earnings of $371,491. Co-owned and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, City to City won the Grade II Providencia and the China Doll Stakes on turf during Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring Meet this year.

The complete field for the Las Palmas Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: City to City, Garrett Gomez, 124; All Star Heart, Brice Blanc, 119; Ash Zee, Joseph Talamo, 119; Turning Top, Mike Smith, 119; Malibu Pier, Joel Rosario, 121; Private Affair, Hector Berrios, 119; Anniversary Girl, no rider, 116, and Sarah’s Secret, Rafael Bejarano, 121.

First post for the 10-race program that wraps up the Autumn Meet is at 12 noon. Santa Anita will remain open for simulcasting during its off-season. The track’s traditional Winter-Spring Meet will get underway on Dec. 26 and continue through April 22 of next year.

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