A classy field of 11 three-year-old fillies and nine turf marathoners head two highly competitive stakes races at Santa Anita Park on a special day of racing Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The undefeated Whoopi Cat shares high weight with House of Fortune and Silent Sighs in the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II), a Grade II event for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally sends out Sweet Return and Fairly Ransom, the one-two finishers in the Hollywood Derby (gr. I), in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) for older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf. Sweet Return is the 121-pound top weight.
Whoopi Cat, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Tale of the Cat trained by Patrick Biancone, won her only two starts on "off" tracks as a 2-year-old last summer, including the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga. Two California breds, House of Fortune and Silent Sighs, could offer Whoopi Cat stiff opposition.
House of Fortune won the California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 8 and was third in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) on Dec. 21. Silent Sighs was beaten a half-length by House of Fortune in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies, when both horses staged a dramatic stretch duel to the wire.
The San Marcos was won last year by Johar, who made Breeders' Cup history last Oct. 25 when he finished in a dead-heat in the Turf with High Chaparral. It was the first dead-heat ever in the Breeders' Cup.
Fairly Ransom is the slight 3-1 favorite in the San Marcos, but Californian, Nothing to Lose and Puerto Banus, in addition to Sweet Return, will all draw strong support in a wide-open race.$150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II, Race 5, 2:35 PST), 3-year-old fillies, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Rahy Dolly, Jose Valdivia Jr., 114
2. Papa to Kinzie, Patrick Valenzuela, 114
3. Yearly Report, Jerry Bailey, 114
4. Cardinalli, Paul Atkinson, 114
5. Church Editor, Martin Pedroza, 116
6. Silent Sighs, David Flores, 121
7. Renaissance Lady, Tyler Baze, 114
8. Nandu, Gary Stevens, 114
9. Whoopi Cat, Mike Smith, 121
10. House of Fortune, Alex Solis, 121
11. Bending Strings, Victor Espinoza, 114 $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:07 p.m. PST), 4 & up, 1 1/4 mile on turf
1. Californian, Kent Desormeaux, 116
2. Blue Stellar, Patrick Valenzuela, 116
3. Gene De Campeao, Omar Berrio, 116
4. Hecandigit, Matt Garcia, 116
5. Nothing to Lose, Jerry Bailey, 116
6. Puerto Banis, Victor Espinoza, 120
7. Sharbayan, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 116
8. Fairly Ransom, Alex Solis, 118
9. Sweet Return, Gary Stevens, 121