Talented Fighting Mad Heads Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes

TALENTED FIGHTING MAD HEADS SUNDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 ZENYATTA STAKES AT A 1 1/16 MILES
RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2020)–An impressive gate to wire winner of her last two starts, the Gary and Mary West homebred Fighting Mad looms a standout in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita.  The Zenyatta, to be contested at a mile and one sixteenth, has attracted a field of five fillies and mares aged three and up.

Trainer Simon Callaghan’s Harvest Moon, a 3-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo, has won her last three starts and is an up and comer that will attract considerable pari-mutuel attention.  Hard Not to Love, a Grade I winner and well accomplished, comes off a dull sixth behind Fighting Mad in the Grade I Clement Hirsch at Del Mar and will hope to rebound for trainer John Shirreffs.

Named for the legendary winner of the 2009 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita who then became Horse of the Year in 2010 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, the Zenyatta is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland on Nov. 7.

FIGHTING MAD

Owner:  Gary & Mary West

Trainer:  Bob Baffert

Ridden aggressively on the lead going a mile and one sixteenth in her last two starts by Abel Cedillo, she took the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes by 3 ¼    lengths on May 31 and prevailed by a half length in the Grade I Hirsch on Aug. 2.  A winner of five out her eight starts, this 4-year-old daughter of New Year’s Day is at the top of her game and looms strictly the horse to beat in the Zenyatta.

HARVEST MOON

Owner:  Alice Bamford & Michael B. Tabor

Trainer:  Simon Callaghan

A one mile maiden winner in her second start on July 20 at Los Alamitos, she then rallied to win a first condition allowance at the same distance by 4 ¼ lengths on July 27 at Del Mar.  Off again as the 3-2 favorite, she responded with a solid 1 ¼ length score in the Grade III, one mile Torrey Pines Stakes Aug. 22 and looms a very legitimate danger on Sunday.  With Flavien Prat set to ride for the fourth consecutive time, Harvest, who has won three out of her four races, looms a legitimate threat.

HARD NOT TO LOVE

Owner:  Mercedes Stables LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, Scott Dilworth, Dorothy & David Ingordo, Steve Mooney

Trainer:  John Shirreffs

Often quirky in the paddock and on the racetrack due to the fact she only has the use of one eye, Hard Not to Love will try to bounce back from a 13 ¼ length drubbing at the hands of Fighting Mad in the Aug. 2 Clement Hirsch.  Second, beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Fighting Mad two starts back in the Grade II Santa Maria, Hard Not to Love, a 4-year-old Ontario, Canadian-bred filly by Hard Spun is winless in three two turn starts since taking the Grade II, seven furlong Santa Monica Stakes on Feb. 15.

THE GRADE II ZENYATTA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 4 of 11  Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT

  1. Fighting Mad–Luis Saez–126
  2. Proud Emma–Ricardo Gonzalez–122
  3. Harvest Moon–Flavien Prat–118
  4. Hang a Star–Tyler Baze–122
  5. Hard Not to Love–Mike Smith–122

First post time for an 11-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.  Although there is no public admittance, Santa Anita’s races can be viewed free of charge via the track’s livestream video at santaanita.com