STREAK OF LUCK IN A POSSIBLY PERFECT SPOT
A $3.65 MILLION BUY, CEZZANE OFF TO GOOD START
SANTA ANITA’S FIRST POST TIME IS NOW AT 1 P.M.
MILLER HOLDS EDGE IN RACE FOR TOP TRAINER
STREAK OF LUCK WELL SPOTTED FOR FIRST STAKES WIN
Streak of Luck, an old gray mare that always seems to put her best foot forward despite not winning more than an overnight race in 26 career starts, could score her first added-money victory Sunday in the $75,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes.
A five-year-old California-bred daughter of the unheralded stallion Old Fashioned owned and bred by the Roncelli Family Trust, Streak of Luck earned black type finishing second in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes in February of 2019 and for running third in the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes in October of 2018.
Even though the Possibly Perfect is a restricted stakes for fillies and mares three and older to be decided at a mile and a quarter on turf, on paper it appears to set up well for Streak of Luck’s stalking style.
“It looks like this should suit her,” said Matt Chew, who has trained for long-time California-based owner/breeder Gino Roncelli, founder in 1969 of Roncelli Plastics in Monrovia, for the past three years. “There could be enough pace in the race to benefit her.
“She ran well in her only start going a mile and a quarter on turf (fourth, but beaten only a length and a half in the Grade III Santa Ana Stakes on March 30, 2019).”
Overall, Streak of Luck has a 5-3-3 record from 26 starts with earnings of $305,859, and a 4-3-2 mark on turf from 19 starts. On Santa Anita’s turf course, she sports a 2-2-2 record in 15 races.
The Possibly Perfect, race nine of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time: Desert Oasis, Victor Espinoza, 3-1; Out of Balance, Aaron Gryder, 12-1; Streak of Luck, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; Dogtag, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Strike at Dawn, Abel Cedillo, 4-1; Pretty Point, Mike Smith, 4-1; and Don’t Blame Judy, Tiago Pereira, 6-1.
CEZANNE, $3.65 MILLION COLT, IN SPARKLING DEBUT
Cezanne, who topped Fasig-Tipton’s sale of two-year-olds in training last year at Gulfstream Park when he fetched a final bid of $3.65 million, kicked off his racing career with a 2 ½-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong maiden race last Saturday.
Cezanne was sent away as an overwhelming 2-5 favorite and posted a final time of 1:16.13. Leading jockey Flavian Prat rode the Kentucky-bred three-year-old colt by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.
Bob Baffert trains Cezanne for owners Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Michael B. Smith and St. Elias Stable.
“Cezanne was credited with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure,” said Jon White, Santa Anita’s longtime morning-line oddsmaker. “Considering he was making his career debut as a three-year-old, I wondered how a 90 Beyer stacks up against the debut Beyers for Arrogate, West Coast and Justify. They also debuted at the age of three for Baffert.
And they all went on to be voted an Eclipse Award that same year as the champion three-year-old male (Arrogate in 2016, West Coast in 2017 and Justify in 2018).
“Because there had been so much hype for Cezanne’s debut, some probably expected to see him win by a bigger margin and get a higher Beyer. But a 90 is a lot higher than Arrogate’s 80 Beyer in his career debut. And keep in mind that after Arrogate’s debut, what he did later that year was extraordinary.”
In the first start of Arrogate’s career, he finished third in a six-furlong maiden race at Los Alamitos on April 17, 2016. Later in the year he won the Travers by 13 ½ lengths while breaking Saratoga’s track record for 1 ¼ miles.
In his final start at three, Arrogate won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita beating California Chrome and other older horses.
“What Cezanne’s 90 Beyer is comparable to was West Coast’s figure in the first start of his career when he got a 91,” White noted.
West Coast began his career by finishing second in a one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita on Feb. 18, 2017. Later in year he won the Travers and the Pennsylvania Derby before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar.
“Justify’s debut Beyer went through the roof, a 104, when he won his first race by a huge margin,” White said. “That really was some performance. Justify showed everyone right from the start what an outstanding equine athlete he was.”
Bursting on the scene early in 2018 at Santa Anita, Justify registered a 9 1/2-length victory in a seven-furlong maiden race on Feb. 18. He subsequently won the Santa Anita Derby and swept the Triple Crown, then was retired after the Belmont Stakes. Justify won all six of his career starts.
“Cezanne raced a bit greenly in his first start and should improve with that race under his belt,” White said. “I also think there’s a good chance that he will do well when he goes farther. Baffert has said that he believes Cezanne has the potential to have a big second half of the year like Arrogate and West Coast.
“So it’s sure going to be interesting to see what Cezanne can do during the rest of the year.”
FIRST POST TIME IS 1 P.M. REMAINDER OF MEET
With five racing days and 11 stakes races remaining in the Winter/Spring meeting, Santa Anita has moved to a 1 p.m. first post time through closing day, Sunday, June 21.
Four graded stakes remain at the meet, the Grade III, $100,000 Lazaro Barrera for three-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs on Saturday, June 20; the Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire for fillies and mares three and up at a mile on turf also June 20; and the Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes, for three-year-olds and up at a mile turf Sunday, June 21.
Also June 21, Santa Anita presents its traditional closing day feature, the Grade III San Juan Capistrano Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile and three quarters over the Camino Real turf course.
FINISH LINES: With two wins Friday, Peter Miller inched away to a 31-29 lead over Bob Baffert in the race for leading trainer. Richard Baltas is third with 26 wins . . . Agent Derek Lawson has lined up the following stakes mounts next weekend for Flavien Prat: on Saturday, California Kook for Peter Miller in the Snow Chief and Collusion Illusion for Mark Glatt in the Grade III Lazaro Barrera; and on Sunday, Ward ‘n Jerry for Mike Puype in the Grade III San Juan Capistrano, Border Town for Richard Mandella in the Grade III American, and Big Sweep for Glatt in the $150,000 Melair. Prat won two races Friday, both for Miller, giving the 27-year-old Frenchman a commanding 77-57 bulge over runner-up Abel Cedillo. Mike Smith leads Prat in stakes wins, however, 12-11, while Baffert leads Miller in that category, 9-8.
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