Magnificience, a dazzling 6 1/2-length winner of her maiden debut three weeks ago, jumps directly into stakes action Sunday in the $100,000-added Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
The 6 1/2-furlong main track event attracted five sophomore fillies.
“She’ll do fine,” said a confident owner-trainer Bruce Headley as his Kentucky-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic . Her rivals include Coco Bell, coming off a 9 3/4-length victory in an allowance race, and Jump On In, winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) by 3 3/4 lengths in January.
The March 11 debut of Magnificience was breathtaking. She broke very slowly in the field of seven, leaving herself with an enormous obstacle. But the chestnut filly stormed home despite racing wide under jockey Alex Solis to cover 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.62 while being geared down at the end. The Santa Paula stakes record is 1:15.02 set by Sardula in 1994.
“She’s more used to the dirt now,” Headley said of his $120,000 Keeneland sales purchase. “But there are some good fillies in this race, so this will be a stronger test for her. But my filly can run, and she can run any distance. She showed she could run from the beginning.”
Solis will be back aboard on Sunday when Magnificience breaks from post 4 in the compact field. The Santa Paula is carded as the third race on a nine-race program.
After a pair of seconds in her first two starts, Coco Belle has won her last two by a combined 12 1/2 lengths for Mr. & Mrs. Jerome Moss. Santa Anita’s leading rider Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for the pair of victories, has the return call for trainer John Sadler.
With earnings of $176,800 from a 3-1-0 record in six starts for C R K Stable, Jump On In is the most accomplished runner in the field. Also trained by Sadler, the Jump Start filly will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.
$100,000 Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III, Race 3, 1:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 6 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Adoradora (KY), 114, Jorge F. Chavez
2. Coco Belle (KY), 116, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Jump On In (KY), 118, Corey S. Nakatani
4. Magnificience (KY), 114, Alex O. Solis
5. Swiss Diva (CA), 118, Agapito Delgadillo