The top three finishers from Santa Anita’s March 1 China Doll Stakes will meet again in the $150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) April 5, each still seeking a graded stakes victory.
The Ral Ayers-trained Sweeter Still, winner of the one-mile China Doll, is the 119-pound co-highweight along with third-place China Doll finisher Gorgeous Goose.
Sweeter Still, a 3-year-old daughter of Rock of Gibraltar, was bred in Ireland by Ann Marie O’Brien out of the Belmez mare Beltisaal and has back-to-back wins in the state and a Jan. 18 maiden special weight over the Santa Anita turf to her credit. Owners David Lanzman Racing Stable and Jason Wood watched the filly win her last start by one length after pressing the pace and holding gamely down the stretch. Now they hope to improve her resume with the graded win.
Gorgeous Goose, a daughter of Mongoose out of the Big Spruce mare Gorgeous Me, was third in the China Doll by 1 ½ lengths. Still, her move from sixth to third was a solid one as she came four wide off the turn and was gaining when they hit the wire. A Mary Anne Denes and Mary Ellen Woelfel homebred, the filly already has a stakes win to her credit from her start before the China Doll – the Dec. 30 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita, which she won by 1 ¼ lengths over Golden Doc A after taking her maiden by a nose in November.
Between those two in the China Doll was the Patrick Gallagher-trained Carnival Queen, a daughter of Carnival Dancer bred in Ireland by Cheveley Park Stud out of the Irish River mare Irish Light. Owned by Newmarket TR, Gary Margolis, Robert Maycock, Mike Jarvis, and M. Elson-Diaz, the chestnut filly turned in her best performance since breaking her maiden at Great Yarmouth in Britain.
Making her first start in blacktype competition is the Barry Abrams-trained Bel Air Sizzle, a daughter of Unusual Heat out of the Runaway Groom mare Bel Air Belle. Bred in California by Madeline Auerbach, David Abrams, and Vincenzo Loverso – and owned by the same – the filly has back-to-back wins over the turf in maiden and allowance company to her credit. Her last victory, in a March 27 one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita, came by a margin of 2 ¾ lengths.
Also of interest is the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Starry Pursuit, a Van Nistelrooy filly bred in Kentucky by Rose Hill Farm out of the Naevus mare Star White. The unbeaten filly has raced just two times – in June of last year when she won an Arlington Park maiden special weight by 1 ¾ lengths, and on March 7, when she won an allowance optional claimer over the Santa Anita turf by 1 1/2 lengths.
Finally, David and Holly Wilson’s Briecat looks to improve off a sixth-place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 8.
Missit, Theodora, Porto Marmay, and Snow Delicious complete the field.
$150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, approximate post 4:00 p.m. PST), one mile for 3-year-old fillies, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Bel Air Sizzle, 117, Chantal Sutherland
2. Briecat, 119, Jon Kenton Court
3. Carnival Queen, 115, Alex Solis
4. Missit, 115, Victor Espinoza
5. Theodora, 115, David Flores
6. Porto Marmay, 115, Tyler Baze
7. Sweeter Still, 119, Martin Garcia
8. Gorgeous Goose, 119, Michael Baze
9. Snow Delicious, 115, Joel Rosario
10. Starry Pursuit, 115, Joseph Talamo