Santa Maria Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #8 1 1/16m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Fillies And Mares Four Years Old And Upward.
1 KTD, trained by Aer Stables
This four year old stood on the brink of greatness last year after a great win in the KYO but failed to win another race and suffered at the hands of the draw monster for the most part. second in both the Acorn and the CCA Oaks she was strongly fancied for the BC Distaff but a wide draw saw her finish late way out of the frame. She began this season with a confidence boosting allowance win at SA and the one draw today makes her a very strong winning chance
2 Wicked Heat, trained by EasyMoneyStables
Despite a great record on turf that saw her take the Grade one Rodeo Drive she failed in the BC Turf and now finds herself back on the surface that saw her win the 2016 BC Distaff and run up well over $3,000.000 in prize money. At five she shouldnt be at the end of her career yet so comes here a very lively chance especially as her recent works are right up with her best.
3 She Makes The Grade, trained by TwinTowersRacing
This is a very tough ask for this filly who although she has won 6 from 12 has neither the overall form or the works the bother the top contenders. There has been plenty of improvement though and i dont blame the trainer for having a crack.
4 Ghost Landing, trained by Nakamura Stables
A lightly raced and improving four year old she will have to improve again to have a chance against the established stars. I liked her win in the Rampart last time and she is working well enough to take some big scalps though and if you like a gamble at better odds she may be the one.
5 Zenna The Ruler, trained by NightMare Racing
A tough and consistent five year old she is working well enough but her form is a little exposed and i am not sure she is up to these. She is a graded stakes winner though and has snippets of form that give her a squeak.
6 Shake It Off, trained by Smokey Stover
The third of the horses with proven class she was recently bought for a healthy $350.000 so her new owner will be hoping for some pay back here. The highlight of last season was undoubtedly the quarter length third in the BC Distaff but whilst a consistent sort she did on the most part struggle to get her head in front last year. A must for the top three and possibly even the winner.
7 Amy, trained by The Hillbilly
A nice lightly raced four year old but she comes up against three top girls today and will be hard pushed to get anything out of the race.
8 Poor Perception, trained by Mb Stables
I have written this plenty of times but here we have just a cheap allowance winner working faster than anything in the field. I dont know how the trainer manages to get these fast work times out of horses with ordinary form at ordinary tracks and plenty dont make the grade but when you see TAM allowance winner and fastest worker coupled with the trainers name you have to start thinking upset winner even from the wide gate.
It looks an easy trifecta here with Shake It Off, Wicked Heat and KTD in no particular order. But this is HRP and as such you have to pay attention to a cheap allowance winner, drawn wide and from a certain stable.