Classy Three Witches Heads Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes
CLASSY THREE WITCHES HEADS GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA MONICA STAKES ON SATURDAY AS OLDER FILLIES & MARES GO SEVEN PANELS
ARCADIA, CA (Jan. 31, 2024)—Idle since third versus the world’s best female sprinters on Nov. 4, five-year-old Three Witches makes her seasonal debut as she tops a field of six older fillies and mares going seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita.
A winner of three of her eight starts, with two seconds and as many thirds for Florida-based trainer Saffie Joseph, Three Witches, a Kentucky-bred mare by Into Mischief out of the Tale of the Cat mare Layreebelle, ran a dynamite third for Joseph, beaten four lengths at 34-1 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint here Nov. 4.
Ensconced following the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, Three Witches will make her first start for Michael McCarthy and be ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat.
Owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, Three Witches took the Grade III Princess Rooney at seven panels two starts back at Gulfstream Park on Oct. 7. Lightly raced, Three Witches is 5-2-1-2 at the Santa Monica distance and should be very tough to beat on Saturday.
Fifth, beaten five lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Kirstenbosch, who was bumped hard at the break, was beaten one length by Three Witches and also fits nicely coming back at seven furlongs for John Sadler.
A winner of Santa Anita’s Grade III Chillingworth Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs two starts back on Sept. 29, Kirstenbosch, a 5-year-old mare by Midnight Lute out of the Belong to Me mare Llandudno, is owned by her breeder, Keith Abrahams.
A two-time graded stakes winner, Kirstenbosch, who be ridden back by Hector Berrios, is 18-4-5-2 overall with earnings of $551,480.
Idle some 16 months prior to running second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths going six furlongs in the Grade III Las Flores Stakes Jan. 1, Hot Peppers, who will be making her second start with Phil D’Amato, was well respected in the tote at 2-1 and could certainly take a big step forward with a recent race to her credit and Juan Hernandez back aboard.
Originally based in Florida and New York, Hot Peppers, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare by Khozan out of the Friends Lake mare Friends Pro, was a Grade III stakes winner at age three in New York and was a close second at three in the Grade I Test Stakes at Saratoga in August of 2022.
With five wins and three seconds from 10 career starts, she has earnings of $412,950.
THE SANTA MONICA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 10 Approximate post time 4:15 p.m. PT
- Cliquish—Kazushi Kimura—120
- Kirstenbosch—Hector Berrios—122
- Three Witches—Flavien Prat—122
- Rose Maddox—Umberto Rispoli--120
- Chismosa—Tiago Pereira—122
- Hot Peppers—Juan Hernandez—120
Special early first post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12:15 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:15 a.m.