PRINCESS NOOR HAS LOOK OF A SUPERSTAR IN TAKING GRADE II, $200,000 CHANDELIER STAKES BY 8 ¼ LENGTHS AS BAFFERT & ESPINOZA COMBINE FOR 1 1/16 MILE WIN IN 1:45.59
RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2020)–Heavily favored Princess Noor provided Bob Baffert with his record 12th Chandelier Stakes victory on Saturday at Santa Anita and she established herself as the probable favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 6 at Keeneland, as she fairly romped to an 8 ¼ length win. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the $1,350,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:45.59.
Unhurried from the rail in her first two turn assignment, Princess Noor sat a joint second mid-way around the Club House turn, about one length behind her pacesetting stablemate Illumination. Under a tight hold from Espinoza, she found room between Miss Costa Rica to her inside and stablemate Varda three and half furlongs from home and collared Illumination heading to the quarter pole, whereupon she gained a half length advantage while in-hand.
“I talked to Victor before and I talked to all my riders and I told them, ‘Just ride your races,'” said Baffert in reference to the three fillies he had entered. “When you are in the one hole, they usually don’t break as well, but I think Victor rode her with a lot of confidence. He’s been on enough good horses and he knows. He took his time and I saw that the other filly (Illumination) go to the lead and they just rode their own race…
“This filly is just incredible and very talented. I don’t train her as hard and I run her into shape. You never know if they can go two turns until they do and it looks like that’s not going to be a problem.”
Unbeaten in her two previous starts, her most recent a 6 ½ length jog in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante Sept. 6, Princess Noor was off at 1-5 in a field of five juvenile fillies in today’s Grade II, $200,000 Chandelier and paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.
“She reminds me of other great horses I used to ride like American Pharoah and California Chrome,” said Espinoza. “The talent is there, we just have to let them be happy around the racetrack. I’ve been riding amazing horses, but as a filly, she’s the best one I’ve ever ridden.”
Owned by Zedan Racing Stables, Princess Noor, who is out of the Wilko mare Sheza Smoke Show, has now won her three starts by a combined 17 ¼ lengths and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $303,000.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Baffert’s Varda checked in second, 9 ¼ lengths in front of Miss Costa Rica. Off at 6-1, Varda paid $3.00 and $2.40.
Miss Costa Rica, trained by Richard Baltas and ridden by Flavien Prat, paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.51, 48.28, 1:12.95 and 1:38.73.
The Chandelier Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, with the winner earning a fees-paid berth into the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland on Nov. 6.