Natalma Stakes (Grade 1) (BC)- $250.000 Purse
WO- For Fillies Two Years Old
One Mile on the Turf
September 16, 2018
As we get set for the 13th running of the Natalma Stakes, a race that will send its winner to the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, as long as the owner wants her there. That is the main goal for this race, but the bigger picture points to a long and successful career down the road. Look at last year’s winner, Quiver Pond and the sixth place runner in the race, Quakerce. Both of these two would run in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the “Q” earning the win, would be Quakerce, showing that you don’t have to win this race, or even get a check in it, to have success. Quakerce has had a successful career, with seven wins in thirteen starts, being a shining star for her trainer, Sir Daniel Martin. Then, there’s Quiver Pond, who won this Natalma, and finished 3rd in the BC. She’s also won seven of thirteen, and has career earnings a couple bucks shy of $1,800.000. So, as we watch this race on Sunday, we know the BC is one goal, but there is plenty more down the line for all of them, not just the winner. Let’s meet the field!
#1- Diluted (Aer Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- Two for three so far in her career, with her last race being a second place effort in the $60.000 Colleen Stakes. Since that race, she has been in steady preparation for this event, working well at MTH. Has a good conformation for this distance, and I’d be expecting her to be in the mix for a win.
#2- Snowy Mountain Sam (John Henry, ridden by R J Albarado)- After breaking her maiden, this filly has had a couple cracks at the stake level, and even ran in the Grade 2 Adirondack at SAR last month, in the mud. This is her first time on the grass, and in going long, so she will be tested. I’d like to have seen better race lines from her last two races, but maybe she has just been waiting for these conditions, too.
#3- Power Of Aggravation (Estero Farms, ridden by A A Gallardo)- The trainer would love to have another Quiver Pond emerge from this race, so we’ll see if she’s the one. Her last race, which she won, was a $14.000 maiden claimer, suggesting that up until now, the trainer has not been too high on her. Plenty to like about a recent work at PRX, though. We all could have had her cheaply if she does move on to bigger things.
#4- Hey Good Lookin (Luz International, ridden by J R Velazquez)- In her second career race, this filly ran on the grass for the first time, and earned a solid 88 SRF in breaking her maiden at Saratoga. She stayed at the Spa, and won again, this time in the $100.000 Bolton Landing, and Velazquez was the rider each time. She is the only stake winner in this field, which is interesting.
#5- Princess Of Sylmar (Blushing Meadows, ridden by R Bejarano)- Broke her maiden in her second career start, coming on the grass out at DMR. That was about six weeks ago, and in the meantime, she has been preparing for this type of race where she could go longer. Conformation doesn’t scream one that wants to go longer, but her work times are showing that she does.
#6- Na Pali (Smokey Stover, ridden by L H Colon)- Another filly with one win in two career starts, but what is different about her is that she has already proven she can win while going longer. Her maiden was broken going a mile and a sixteenth at MTH last month on the grass, and since then, her works have been blistering fast, especially an effort at MTH on the 7th. She is ready to roll here, and should be considered a top threat.
#7- Lila (First Street Stables, ridden by J K Court)- She will make her debut in the First Street silks for this race, being acquired in private sales for just $25.000. That could loom into quite a bargain in the long run. Last time we saw her on the track, it was right here in July, winning on the grass at seven furlongs to break her maiden. Doesn’t have a public mile work in some time, but will need to have improved since the last one that does show publicly.
#8- Command Stroke (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- The Command Attention filly has tried a couple of ungraded stakes after breaking her maiden on a rainy May day at CD. One such race was the Bolton Landing, which was won by Hey Good Lookin. She’ll be hoping that more ground to cover allows her to turn the table. Her works are fine, but a couple others here are a little better. Trainer is having a great year with two year olds, so hard to not bet on his entry here.
#9- French Box (Threshold, ridden by F Pennington)- The great F Pennington looks to win the Natalma for the first time in his career, and he should have a good mount in which to do it. French Box has one win in two starts, but her win did come at over a mile, coming in early August at SAR. Doesn’t have a recent public mile work, but a breeze at seven furlongs gives us an idea of where she should stand. Has a promising conformation for the distance.
#10- One Stop (Mb Stables, ridden by J Alvarado)- This looks like the week for Mb Stables to be starting on the outside, and despite some great breeding on this one, that may do her in. She opened her career win a win on a sloppy GG track in April, but since then, has not hit the board in three straight allowances. Those are all sprints, and she may just be waiting to go longer. Works put her in as a contender, but not as the favorite.
#11- Get Up Stand Up (Night Mare Racing, ridden by E Esquivel)- The Revolutionary filly has one win in two starts, and has never raced on anything but off tracks. Comes off an impressive looking win on soft SAR turf last month, where she went wire to wire at a mile and a sixteenth. She also possesses the fastest work time at a mile on the grass out of anyone here. The win shows she knows how to bring it on race day, and I think she is going to get it done here, despite the post.
#12- Because (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Took her a while to break her maiden, finally doing so in her last start, her fifth, at RET. Despite the victory, she only earned a 79 SRF which does command your attention. Looks like she’s just been waiting to get on the grass, so that helps. Now, she needs to overcome a tough post, and like her stablemate, that may be the obstacle she cannot overcome.