Hot Storm ran her winning streak to five races with her richest victory yet, a front-running triumph in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint for California and Florida-breds at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Hot Storm joined Valentine Dancer as the only two-time winner in the four-year-old Sunshine Millions series. She captured the Oaks in her only other start at Santa Anita last year.
With David Flores in the irons, the 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic
filly took full advantage of a pronounced speed bias at the Arcadia, Calif. track to register a 1 3/4-length win over the odds-on choice Western Hemisphere. Thrilling Victory took third. The final time for the six-furlong event was 1:09 2/5.
"She broke well and I was expecting a lot more speed from the outside, but when my filly took the lead, she started looking around and nobody else was sending, so I was very comfortable," Flores said. "I was very pleased the first half-mile. On the middle of the turn I hit her just a little bit on the shoulder and she went right back on. I was very pleased. She's a very nice filly."
Dallas Stewart trains the winning Florida-bred bay filly for owner and co-breeder Robert A. Adams of Cincinnati. Hot Storm earned $165,000 for her eighth win in 18 starts, and she has now banked $559,505 in her career. The well-traveled filly won the previous four races in her current victory streak in Kentucky.
The second choice in the field of nine, Hot Storm ($8, $3, $2.60) set lively fractions of :21 2/5 and :44 3/5 before turning back the challenge of Western Hemisphere, who had closed well from mid-pack on the turn to reach even terms in upper stretch. But the 7-10 favorite Western Hemisphere ($2.40, $2.20), ridden by Victor Espinoza for trainer Bob Baffert, was being asked early for her run and she ran out of steam in mid-stretch, settling for second. Thrilling Victory ($3) and Martin Pedroza rallied mildly for third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up, with the deep closer Da Svedonya claiming fourth.
Run Rebecca Run, Double D Appeal, Etch, Aclevershadeofjade and Royally Chosen followed. Abounding Truth, Allswellthatnswell, Alphabet Kisses and Leave Me Alone all scratched.
"She probably needs more distance," Baffert said of the Golden Eagle Farm's runner-up. "When they hit the top of the stretch I said to myself, 'We shoulda run in the (seven furlong) Santa Monica on Sunday.'
"I think Mrs. Mabee is going to have her bred. I don't know what stallion they're going to go to."
The multiple stakes-winning Western Hemisphere has a 4-5-1 record in 13 starts with earnings of $417,575.