The Derby "preps" have been completed, but the stakes races keep rolling. At Santa Anita Park, we had three: The Santa Margarita, The Crystal Water, and The Singletary stakes. If you missed out on the action, here's the recap:
The $200K Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) was won by AS TIME GOES BY, ridden by Mike Smith, trained by Bob Baffert, owned by Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith — in an emphatic, wire to wire score!
AS TIME GOES BY flew out of the gate for Mike Smith and secured the lead over HARVEST MOON, setting a pace of 23.17 and 46.98 for the opening quarters. It was quick tempo and they picked it up leaving the backside. AS TIME GOES BY began to inch clear of her rivals, effortlessly. She opened up to a three-length advantage by the turn, doing it under a hand ride, while the rest of the field were battling to keep up. With good energy coming down the stretch, she widens by 9 lengths, completely dusting her competition. HARVEST MOON was left in her wake and could do no better than second-place, while THIS TEA made a late run for third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth was 1:49.95.
AS TIME GOES BY paid $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by AMERICAN PHAROAH out of TAKE CHARGE LADY by DEHERE. She improves her record to 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third out of 9 total starts. Her earnings now exceed $260,000, as she earns her first graded stakes victory of her career. She has yet to finish out of the money.
Note that THIS TEA, from the George Papaprodromou barn, completed the exacta at odds of 30-1. She was clearly no match for the winner but appeared to get rolling late. This was THIS TEA's first try at nine furlongs and, being by CURLIN, could improve off these longer route races.
The $100K Crystal Water Stakes was won by BRANDOTHEBARTENDER, ridden by Umberto Rispoli, trained by Craig Dollase, owned by Flawless Racing, Brian Flanagan, and Michael Jarvis — in a commanding score.
BRANDOTHEBARTENDER broke well for Umberto Rispoli but was guided to the rail near the back, while the leaders pushed a pace of 23.60 and 47.58 for opening splits. It was a comfortable tempo as they raced close together through the backside. BRANDOTHEBARTENDER makes headway along the fence, ranging up to the leaders with plenty of run. He then angles out before motoring down the lane, charging past his rivals to the wire. NORTH COUNTY GUY attempted to match strides, but could only run second. ACCLIMATE settled for third. The final time for the one mile on turf was 1:35.05.
BRANDOTHEBARTENDER paid $12.00 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by TRIBAL RULE out of FRYSLAND by STRAVINSKY. He's now won two consecutive stakes races at Santa Anita Park and pushed his earnings to $668,364.
The $100K Singletary Stakes was won by SWORD ZORRO, ridden by Umberto Rispoli, trained by John Sadler, owned by Yuesheng Zhang — with a powerful come-from-behind rally.
SWORD ZORRO broke evenly but was taken back to the rear of the field by Umberto Rispoli, while they ran through opening quarters of 23.31 and 47.55. They raced compact through this moderate tempo, about five lengths separating the front and back horses. Approaching the turn, Umberto Rispoli says "go" on SWORD ZORRO and they circle the field, traveling five wide. PETRUCHIO makes a brave run directly to his inside, appearing to match his stride, but SWORD ZORRO's momentum was much too great; he stormed home and use the length of the stretch to secure the win by three parts of a length. PETRUCHIO ran second, MAN FRIDAY held on for third. The final time was 1:36.63 for the one mile on turf.
SWORD ZORRO paid $7.00 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. He is by ZOFFANY out of SARAWATI by HAAFHD. He achieves his first U.S. victory, pushing his earnings to $84,900, and makes his third start after a three-month layoff, a winning one.