- SUNDAY’S SANTA PAULA IS VERY CONTENTIOUS
- TRAINERS’ RACE COULD GO DOWN TO THE WIRE
- SPRING PORTION OF MEET STARTS NEXT FRIDAY
BALTAS SEES SANTA PAULA AS ‘TOUGH RACE’
Sunday’s Santa Paula Stakes offers a relatively small pot of $75,000, but pound for pound, the 6 ½ furlong dirt race for three-year-old fillies is not an easy spot.
Take it from Richard Baltas, the meet’s third-leading trainer with 25 wins, it’s more competitive than the purse money might indicate.
“It’s a very tough race,” Baltas said. “Union Strike (supplemented to the race for $1,500) is a Grade I winner (Del Mar Debutante) and Selcourt (9 ¼-length maiden winner in her debut race) looks like she could be any kind.
“But my filly (Mistressofthenight) is working well (two bullet drills, on March 24 and April 2), and she stumbled at the start when she finished fourth to Unique Bella in the (Grade II) Santa Ysabel March 4.”
With two racing days remaining in the Winter Meet, Baltas finds himself in third place in the trainers’ standings, no facile feat.
“To be third behind Jerry Hollendorfer and Pete Miller and to be right up there in earnings plus four graded stakes wins, I’ve got to be more than happy.”
The Santa Paula, race nine of 10: Auntjenn, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Mistressofthenight, Corey Nakatani, 15-1; Union Strike, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Selcourt, Tyler Baze, 8-5; Charlatana, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Life’s Blessings, Flavien Prat, 5-2, and Chalon, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 4-1.
FINISH LINES: The battle for leading trainer in terms of total wins at the Winter Meet could go down to the 10th and final race on Sunday. Jerry Hollendorfer leads Peter Miller, 35-34, going into Saturday. Each has six horses entered today, but Miller has two each in both the first and sixth races. On Sunday, Hollendorfer has two entered and Miller three, including the last two races, meaning the title could go down to the wire . . . While the riding title is not mathematically clinched, Flavien Prat holds a comfortable 57-50 lead over Tyler Baze. Prat is named on nine horses Saturday and Baze on eight. Prat is named on six Sunday, Baze on seven . . . There will be a four-day break before the Spring portion of the Santa Anita meet that started Dec. 26 has a fresh start next Friday, April 14. First post time is 1 p.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, April 7)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||125||26||13||12||21%||41%||$1,058,741|