Alice Marble Rates Slight Edge Over Big Summer As California-Bred Distaffers Go 6 ½ Furlongs Down Hillside Turf In $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes
ALICE MARBLE RATES SLIGHT EDGE OVER BIG SUMMER AS CALIFORNIA-BRED DISTAFFERS GO 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN HILLSIDE TURF IN $100,000 IRISH O’BRIEN STAKES ON FRIDAY
RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE CTBA-SPONSORED GOLDEN STATE SERIES
ARCADIA, CA (March 12, 2023)—Favoritism is likely to be hotly contested in Friday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita, as two ultra consistent mares, the Phil D’Amato-trained Alice Marble and the Carla Gaines-conditioned Big Summer head a field of six older fillies and mares competing at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course.
The Irish O’Brien is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.
Owned and bred by Nick Alexander, Alice Marble, fresh off a win going six furlongs on the main track versus statebreds in the Spring Fever Stakes Feb. 19, rates a slight edge with Flavien Prat back in the saddle. A winner of six of her nine starts with D’Amato and never worse than third in any of them, this 6-year-old mare by Grazen out of the More Than Ready mare Unsung Heroine has solid hillside credentials that include second place finishes in the Grade II Monrovia on April 9 of last year and two in-the money performances in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, most recently a third place finish on Jan. 7 and a second in last year’s edition on Jan. 22, 2022.
With three stakes win and an overall mark of 14-6-2-3, Alice Marble has earnings of $410,880.
Big Summer, a 5-year-old mare by Mr. Big out of the Cee’s Tizzy mare Ultimate Summer, is also a stakes winner down the hillside turf, as she defeated eight statebreds in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint two starts back on Jan. 7 and was most recently a game second, beaten a neck as the 9-5 favorite down the hill in the Wishing Well Stakes on Feb. 18.
Bred in California by Bob Abrams and Mitchell Dutko, Big Summer is owned by Abrams, Dutko and Michael Paran. A winner of two of her three starts down the hill, Big Summer was transferred to Gaines this past summer and has been ridden by Joe Bravo to three wins in her six starts with Gaines.
With Bravo back aboard, Big Summer will try to improve on an overall race record of 12-4-6-2 and earnings of $315,160.
Donald Valpredo’s rapidly improving homebred Shocking Grey, in search of her third consecutive win with Juan Hernandez up, looms a dangerous horse who tries the hill and makes her first stakes start for the first time in the Irish O’Brien.
A 4-year-old filly by Grazen out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Seoul Unbridled, Shocking Grey has raced exclusively on turf, winning twice and finishing second three times in her five career starts.
THE $100,000 IRISH O’BRIEN WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 6 of 10 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Feeling Grazeful—Edwin Maldonado—120
- Alice Marble—Flavien Prat—124
- Big Summer—Joe Bravo—124
- Shocking Grey—Juan Hernandez—120
- Taming the Tigress—Umberto Rispoli—122
- Rose Maddox—Hector Berrios—124
First post time for a 10-race card on Friday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.