KEEPER OFTHE STARS RALLIES TO TAKE GRADE III, $100,000 AUTUMN MISS STAKES BY 1 ½ LENGTHS UNDER CEDILLO; TRAINED BY WONG, SHE GETS MILE ON TURF IN 1:32.70 AND SURVIVES STEWARDS INQUIRY INTO STRETCH RUN
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2019)–An allowance winner on turf last time out at Golden Gate Fields, trainer Jonathan Wong’s Keeper Ofthe Stars rallied to take Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita by 1 ½ lengths. A bit erratic late, Keeper Ofthe Stars, who was ridden by Abel Cedillo, survived a stewards inquiry into the stretch run while getting a flat mile on turf in 1:32.70.
Mid-pack with a half mile to run, Keeper Ofthe Stars hugged the rail turning for home, angled out for room approaching the furlong pole and then drifted into the path of longshot Holly Hundy a sixteenth out, but straightened up and won as much the best.
“She’s still green,” explained Cedillo. “She’s learning (with) every race, but today when she was between horses, she got intimidated. That’s why she came out a little bit. I straightened her up right away and she won pretty easy.”
A close fourth two starts back in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks Aug. 17, Keeper Ofthe Stars was a 3 ½ length allowance winner going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Golden Gate Sept. 20. Off at 5-1 in a field of 12 sophomore fillies, she paid $12.20, $6.80 and $4.60.
Owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, Keeper Ofthe Stars, who is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Midnight Lute, notched her first stakes victory and her fifth win from 10 overall starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $184,800.
“I was very scared,” said Wong with regard to the inquiry. “I saw her come out a little bit past the sixteenth pole, I didn’t think it was much, but everyone finished pretty close for the minors so I was afraid it might have affected them a little bit.
“Me and Abel have had a lot of wins. He’s my main man, a very good friend and an awesome rider. I’m really proud of him.”
For her part, Giza Goddess, trained by John Shirreffs, ran too good to lose as she led the entire way until well inside the sixteenth pole. Ridden by Brice Blanc, she was off at 29-1 and paid $20.80 and $10.20.
“She ran her tail off today,” said Blanc. “She broke running and showed good natural speed. I know the fractions look fast, but we were going real easy. She ran huge, especially when you consider she had been away so long (Dec. 18, 2018).”
California-bred Mucho Unusual, ridden by Victor Espinoza, rallied from well of the pace to be third, finishing a neck in front of 8-5 favorite Hidden Message. Off at 6-1, Mucho Unusual paid $5.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.27, 45.01, 1:08.44 and 1:20.62.