Santa Barbara Stakes (Grade 3)- $125.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
May 14, 2022
The Santa Barbara Stakes fits the description of being one of the smaller graded stakes out there, with a $125.000 purse, but it is actually an increase of $25.000 from where it had been in previous years so that’s a little something. The race initially debuted on the calendar as a Grade 2, but would be downgraded 2014. Two years later, a quarter mile would be added to the distance, giving it the full twelve furlongs that it is currently at. In 2021, the race was won by Ginger Shamanism, for Greyfriars Stable. While she is still active, at this time the race may have been the pinnacle of her career as she has struggled lately. Five race in this year’s event. Here’s a look at them!
#1- Ginger Tiara (The Sidley Stud, ridden by V Espinoza)- Looking to get another victory for the “Ginger” crowd, but she will need to be better than she was last month in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes here, where she was a non-factor, placing fifth. She has three wins in eight starts, but other than her win at the $100.000 Tepin last November, her other victories don’t impress so this would be a fantastic signature win for her as she hopes to build her career.
#2- Build Battle (Mb Stables, ridden by T J Pereira)- This filly will have to carry five more pounds than the three year olds in the race, and two more pounds than the other older horses. She can thank her win about two weeks ago for that, the Grade 3 Bewitch, but it was a needed win for her against good company that included Number Nine. We’ve seen her in a couple of Grade 1’s, including the BEL Oaks, so there has been times that Build Battle seemed on the cusp of being a real great horse. Might get another shot at one of those with a win here.
#3- Directors Chair (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E Maldonado)- No one in this field has made more than Directors Chair, as finishing second in the BC Juvenile Fillies went a long way in that. But you would want a horse that places second in that race to have run in the KYO last week, not a $125.000 stake a week later. Directors Chair ran against the boys in KYD preps and actually did quite well in them, but that kept her out of the KYO. This is her turf debut, and I am surprised to see her here, quite honestly, over say, the Black Eyed Susan next week. But, if she handles the turf well, she’s the class of the field.
#4- Maya Caribe (First Flight Stables, ridden by J J Hernandez)- After a steady diet of graded stakes, previous trainer First Street Stables put her in for a $25.000 claiming tag in an optional claimer, and First Flight stepped up and grabbed her. She’s going right back into the type of graded stake that she had been running in for the other “First” stable, with inconsistent results. The task for First Flight will be to find consistency for her. If he can do that, then this will prove to be a very wise claim.
#5- Flying Kaki (The Sidley Stud, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Certainly an experienced horse, as the six year old mare has made 36 starts, and won nine of them. That’s a good clip, but so many of those runs came at fair level tracks that it is hard to put a ton of stock in them. I also don’t think they should be completely dismissed, either. Last December, off of those fair track races, she jumped into Miss America at GG and walked away with the trophy. Doesn’t have much experience in graded stakes, but she has certainly earned this opportunity.