Quite a Bride turned in quite a performance and had 3-5 favorite Nashoba’s Key playing the bridesmaid when she rolled to a solid win in the $500,000 San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes at Santa Anita Jan. 26.
Sent off at odds of 2-1, the Florida-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic was able to get the 1 1/8-mile distance for trainer Bill Mott for the first time in her career, thanks to a perfect trip under Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez.
First at the start, Quite a Bride tucked back behind the frontrunning Somethinaboutlaura as Placid Lake showed quick early speed and Nashoba’s Key rated in fourth under 2007 Eclipse Apprentice Jockey Joe Talamo. They nursed through early fractions of :25.06, :50.58, and 1:14.35 with the order of the first four remaining unchanged. It was not until they hit the turn that Talamo sent Nashoba’s Key after the leaders, but Quite a Bride was already powering away through a mile in 1:37.72.
"She placed herself up close like she always does," said Gomez. "When we went into the far turn, I was expecting Nashoba’s Key to be coming after me, and when I didn’t see her, I thought maybe she got held up in traffic or maybe the soft turf was bothering her. When we got to the top of the stretch, it looked like maybe the field was coming to me. I asked her at that point, and she sprinted clear.”
Kept to the task, the 5-year-old mare breezed home under wraps to a handy 1 ¾-length win. The final time was 1:49.98. Nashoba’s Key, launching her 5-year-old career after a fourth-place finish in the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), came in second and had trainer Carla Gaines blaming the pace and position for her loss.
“She was too far back off a slow pace," said Gaines. "She got to the winner right past the wire.”
22-1 shot Placid Lake hung on for third.
Owned by breeder Julio Bozano's Haras Santa Maria de Araras, Quite a Bride claimed her 10th career win in 18 starts and came off a dominating wire-to-wire victory in the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park Jan. 3 to claim her second consecutive victory. She is the first graded stakes winner produced by the 20-year-old Blushing Groom mare Wise Bride, whose last reported foal was an unnamed Indian Ocean yearling.
"She hadn’t won going a mile and an eighth previously, so it was a little bit of a question," said Leana Willaford, assistant to Mott. "But obviously, she got the job done.”
Willaford said Quite a Bride would go back to Florida. “She’s meant to be retired,” she said. “Her last race was supposed to be her last one, and we talked her owners into running in this one, and she’s two for two, so now I don’t know what they’re going to do.”
Quite a Bride returned $6.40, $3, and $2.40. Nashoba’s Key paid $2.20 and $2.10 to place, while Placid Lake and jockey David Flores brought $4.20 to show.