PAIR OF $100,000 CAL-BRED STAKES TO BE CONTESTED AT 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN SANTA ANITA’S HILLSIDE TURF THIS WEEKEND OCT. 16 & 17
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2021)–A pair of popular California-bred stakes, the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap and the $100,000 California Flag Handicap, will both be contested at about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course this weekend, Oct. 16 and 17.
With the opening day Grade II Eddie D Stakes on Oct. 1 marking a return of racing to the popular Camino Real course, a total of three hillside races have been run to date, with average field size at better than eight horses per race.
Saturday’s California Distaff Handicap, for fillies and mares three and up, has attracted 16 nominations while Sunday’s California Flag, for three year olds and up, has 19 nominees.
The Craig Lewis-trained Warren’s Showtime heads the Distaff lineup and Lewis confirms the 4-year-old chestnut filly by Clubhouse Ride will be ridden by Juan Hernandez. A two-time graded stakes winner who has six overall stakes victories, the Ben and Sally Warren homebred is easily the leading money earning nominee with $715,431 from an overall mark of 21-7-2-10. Although she’s an impressive 11-5-1-5 on the Santa Anita turf, the Distaff will mark her first try down the hillside.
Owner Kaleem Shah’s 4-year-old Bella Vita, an impressive 4 ½ length open allowance winner going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt Aug. 29 at Del Mar, she was scratched out of the Grade III Chillingworth Stakes at six furlongs on the main track Oct. 3 in order to run on turf this Saturday. A bay daughter of Shah’s 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, she’s trained by Simon Callaghan and will be seeking her second stakes win in what will be her maiden voyage down the hill and her 12 overall start.
A 6-year-old mare by Lucky Pulpit out of the multiple stakes winning Lady Railrider, Pulpit Rider is owned by her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams and is trained by Mike Puype. A game nose winner versus statebreds of the one mile turf Solana Beach Stakes Aug. 15, Lucky Pulpit, who is winless in three tries down the hill dating back to January, 2018, is a four-time stakes winner who will be making her 30th career start.
In Sunday’s California Flag, Nick Alexander’s homebred Desmond Doss could be the early pole sitter. Most recently a close third going one mile on dirt at 9-5 in the statebred E.B. Johnston Stakes at Los Alamitos Sept. 12, this 5-year-old full horse by Grazen will be trying the hillside turf for the first time. With two wins, one routing and one sprinting, over the Santa Anita turf, he’s 16-5-2-2 overall and will be shortening up out of five consecutive routes.
Trained by Steve Miyadi and a Cal-bred stakes winner at one mile on dirt, Desmond Doss, who is out of Alexander’s Malek mare Malley Girl, has earnings of $299,341 and will be seeking his first turf stakes win.
Trainer Steve Knapp’s hard hitting Loud Mouth, is also considered definite for the California Flag. Second, beaten a half length in the one mile E.B. Johnston Stakes Sept. 12 but moved up via disqualification, Loud Mouth, a 5-year-old full horse by Boisterous, has one win from three starts on the Santa Anita turf but will also be making his first hillside start. Dismissed at 10-1 in the Johnston, he’ll be a much shorter price on Sunday.
Claimed for $40,000 on July 20, 2019, Loudmouth is owned by Thomsen Racing LLC. A two-time stakes winner for Knapp, Loud Mouth has eight wins from 29 overall starts and earnings of $374,070.
Entries for Saturday will be taken on Wednesday morning, while Sunday’s entries will be taken on Thursday.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita with first post time for a nine-race card on Friday at 1 p.m. with free parking and General Admission. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.