LITTLE RED FEATHER’S ELM DRIVE CRUISES TO 2 ¼ LENGTH WIN IN $75,000 ANGEL’S FLIGHT STAKES AS D’AMATO & GONZALEZ TEAM FOR SEVEN FURLONG SCORE IN 1:23.97
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 8, 2022)–The Phil D’Amato train not only rolls on, it’s picking up steam, as the San Pedro, CA native knocked down his second stakes win of the weekend in Sunday’s $75,000 Angel’s Flight Stakes at Santa Anita. Idle since well beaten going two turns on Oct. 1, Little Red Feather Racing’s Elm Drive made every pole a winning one in taking the Angel’s Flight by 2 ¼ lengths while getting seven furlongs under Ricky Gonzalez in 1:23.97.
With a scratch earlier today of odds-on morning line favorite Eda, the Angel’s Flight took on the look of a wide-open affair, but Elm Drive, who opened up turning for home when challenged, was completely dominant as she notched her second career stakes victory.
“She broke sharp and just showed she was in command every step of the way and a had a little extra to kick away in the stretch,” said D’Amato, who leads the trainer standings with 38 wins and is now one-up on Bob Baffert for the lead in stakes victories, with 12. “I’m very happy with her comeback. Seven eighths is a tricky distance to win at off the bench and I’m glad we did it. I think she’ll get a lot out of this race.”
A winner of the Grade II Sorrento Stakes going six furlongs at Del Mar in her second start on Aug. 6, Elm Drive then suffered major defeats in both the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 5 and the Grade II Chandelier Stakes on Oct. 1–losing by a combined 64 lengths.
With time off and a return to sprinting, she was off as the 2-1 second choice among a field of five sophomore fillies and paid $6.00, $3.20 and $2.40.
“I’ve been working her and we knew she was going to be a little sharp, so the main thing for her was to get a breather in between,” said Gonzalez, who was aboard for the first time. “She broke really fast, so I just took the lead and I let her settle a little bit. Once she went 46 at the half, I knew the race was over. She just flew home after that…”
A $165,000 Florida 2-year-old in training sale purchase in March of 2021, Elm Drive, a Kentucky-bred filly by Mohaymen, out of the Indian Charlie mare Lets Dance Charlie, is now three for five and with the winner’s share of $47,640, she increased her earnings to $195,640.
Kirstenbosch elicited a considerable roar from the Mother’s Day crowd when she mounted a stretch rally from last under Tyler Baze, finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front of favored Empire Gal. Off as the 2-1 third choice, she paid $3.00 and $2.60.
Empire Gal, ridden by Victor Espinoza, loomed menacingly at the top of the lane, but couldn’t go with the winner while finishing third, 1 ½ lengths in front of longshot Unsolved Mystery.
Off at 9-5, Empire Gal paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.59, 46.66 and 1:10.92.
Racing resumes with first post time for an eight-race card on Friday at 1 p.m.