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FASHION PLATE, RIA ANTONIA HEAD STRONG FIELD IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $400,000 SANTA ANITA OAKS
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 2, 2014)—Fashion Plate, an impressive gate to wire winner of the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 1, and Ria Antonia, who won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification two starts back on Nov. 2, head a competitive field of eight 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
A 6 ½ length maiden winner going six furlongs on Dec. 29, Fashion Plate stretched out for the first time in the Las Virgenes and earned a career high Beyer Speed figure of 83 when dispatched at odds of 9-2.
A Kentucky-bred filly by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Old Fashioned, Fashion Plate will be making her fifth career start in the Oaks. Trained by Simon Callaghan and owned by Arnold Zetcher, LLC and Michael Tabor, she’ll be handled for the second time in-a-row by Gary Stevens. With two wins and a third, she has earnings of $219,250.
Callaghan will also saddle the speedy Bajan, who won the six furlong Anoakia Stakes Oct. 13 and the seven furlong Moccasin Stakes Nov. 9. Well beaten in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Hollywood Starlet two starts back on Dec. 7, Bajan will try two turns for the second time in the Oaks.
A Kentucky-bred filly by Speightstown, she’s owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Ronald Frankel. She has three wins and a second from seven starts.
Second, beaten a nose by eventual Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old filly She’s a Tiger, Ria Antonia was placed first via disqualification in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and was subsequently a well beaten fourth by top 3-year-old filly Untapable in the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes Feb. 22 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
A Kentucky-bred filly by Rockport Harbor, Ria Antonia, who will be making her seventh career start, will go first time for Bob Baffert and be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith. A winner of two races from six starts with earnings of $1,164,140, she has trained well locally and hopes to rebound off of her drubbing at the hands of Untapable. She’s owned by Christopher T. Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable, Inc.
Third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Fashion Plate in the Grade I Las Virgenes, Arethusa was rallying strongly late and looms a stout threat for Darley Stable and trainer Eoin Harty. A winner of the 1 1/16 miles Sharp Cat Stakes three starts back at Hollywood Park Nov. 16, Arethusa has been ridden in her last three starts by Corey Nakatani, but due to his multiple stakes commitments in New York, she’ll be ridden by Rafael Bejarano on Saturday.
By A.P. Indy and bred by Darley America, Arethusa’s lone win from six starts came in the Sharp Cat. A dedicated deep closer, she’ll hope for a realistic pace to run at.
An impressive 2 ¾ length maiden winner going one mile on March 2, John Sadler’s Honey Ride is an up and coming sort who will try stakes competition for the first time in the Oaks. In her first try around two turns, Honey Ride rated well for Tyler Baze and finished with aplomb in her maiden win.
Owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, the Kentucky-bred by Candy Ride will be making her fourth start.
After breaking slowly in the Grade I Las Virgenes, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Artemis ran a respectable fifth and came back to finish second at 5-2 over a wet fast track in the Grade III Santa Ysabel March 1. A one mile maiden winner three starts back, she has the benefit of having run five times in the past 4 ½ months.
Owned by Peachtree Stable, Artemis has a win, two seconds and a third from five starts.
Third in the Anoakia Stakes six starts back on Oct. 13, Reddam Racing LLC’s homebred Smoove It broke her maiden sprinting in her second start on June 29 at Hollywood Park and has been winless in six starts since. A California-bred by Square Eddie, Smoove It comes off a third place run in the Sweetlife Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, she has a win, a second and four thirds from eight starts.
With all horses assigned 122 pounds, here’s the complete field for Saturday’s Santa Anita Oaks, to be run as the fifth race on an 11-race program, with jockeys in post position order: Fashion Plate, Gary Stevens; Kissin Lucky Lips, Brice Blanc; Ria Antonia, Mike Smith; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze; Arethusa, Rafael Bejarano; Artemis, Victor Espinoza; Bajan, Joe Talamo, and Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez.
First post time on Saturday, Santa Anita Derby Day, is early at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.