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FREE FLYING SOUL FACES SEVEN IN SUNDAY’S GRADE III LAS FLORES
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 1, 2010) – Hard-hitting Free Flying Soul, a 5-year-old mare trained by Bruce Headley who has been out-of-the-money but once in her last 11 races, heads a field of eight fillies and mares who have signed up for Sunday’s 58th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores Handicap over 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita.
Marsha Naify’s Kentucky-bred daughter of Quiet American will carry high weight of 120 pounds, jockey Mike Smith and the most earnings -- $319,986 from a 5-1-4 record in 12 starts -- into the Las Flores. But Free Flying Soul, a winner of three stakes races, still lacks a graded victory on her resume.
Her competition includes Alpha Kitten, winner of the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes last year for Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Sadler, and who represents the only graded stakes winner in the lineup. One of two Sadler entrants along with Mona de Momma, Alpha Kitten went to the sidelines for 11 months following her Santa Ynez triumph by 1 ½ lengths over Evita Argentina at seven furlongs.
She returned with a solid second behind Emmy Darling in an allowance event on Feb. 24 at Santa Anita. Regular rider Tyler Baze will be aboard the lightly-raced 4-year-old gray filly by Tale of the Cat who has accumulated earnings of $172,670 from five starts with a 2-2-0 showing. Weighted at 116 pounds, Alpha Kitten will get a four-pound concession from high-weighted Free Flying Soul.
Although she lacks a graded stakes win, Free Flying Soul led into the stretch of a pair of Grade I competitions at seven furlongs before fading to third in both the Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 31 and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. Her record over Santa Anita’s main track is 4-0-3 in seven starts.
Second high weight in the field at 117 pounds is Miss McCall, trained and co-owned by Mike Mitchell and named after one of his two daughters. Miss McCall gave way following a heated pace duel when finishing fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint on Jan. 30, her last start.
Prior to that, the 4-year-old gray filly had won three consecutive sprints for Mitchell and partners Scott Anastasi and James Ukegawa including the $50,000 Phoenix Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths at Turf Paradise. Joe Talamo takes over aboard Miss McCall, whose 3 wins in 5 starts have accounted for earnings of $113,400.
The complete field for the Las Flores Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Mother Ruth, Martin Garcia, 115; Mona de Momma, Joel Rosario, 116; She’s Cheeky, Alex Solis, 116; Hallelujah Trail, Victor Espinoza, 116; Alpha Kitten, Tyler Baze, 116; Miss McCall, Joseph Talamo, 117; Free Flying Soul, Mike Smith, 120, and Gilded Gem, Garrett Gomez, 116.
The Las Flores is scheduled as the eighth race on a nine-race program. First post on Easter Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.