Star Parade Shines in Santa Maria

Star Parade Shines in Santa Maria
Photo: Benoit & Associates
Star Parade takes Santa Maria.
Edited from track reports
Star Parade took the early lead and held off Bare Necessities by a head to capture Monday's grade I, $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza at 114 pounds, Star Parade ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.87, and paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.40. Darrell Vienna is the trainer for owner Gary Tanaka.

Bare Necessities, Jose Valdivia Jr. riding at 118 pounds, rallied three-wide into the stretch and closed strongly to just miss. The runner-up returned $3 and $2.40. It was two lengths back to La Tour, Alex Solis riding at 115 pounds and a $3.40 show payoff.

La Tour stumbled just past the finish line and unseated jockey Alex Solis. The meet's leading rider with 46 wins, Solis escaped injury and rode the remainder of the card.

Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I) winner Adoration chased Star Parade around the track before tiring and finished fourth. Preeminence and Angel Gift completed the order of finish. Island Fashion, the 5-2 morning line favorite, was scratched earlier in the day.

Star Parade set fractional times of :22.59, :46, 1:10.52 and 1:36.97 while maintaining a clear lead over Adoration.

"Today I had to rush her a little bit out of the gate to get the lead," Espinoza said. "I had no choice, I had to just let her go. That's the way she runs and we can't change her style. When she's leading I don't care about the fractions at all. I don't care how far she has to run, she still keeps going."

The victory was the second graded win in a row for Star Parade, a daughter of Parade Marshal who was imported to this country in mid-2003 after beginning her career in her native Argentina. After two wins and a second in her first three U. S. starts, Star Parade was fourth in a turf allowance test before winning the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) at the end of the season. Purchased privately by London financier Tanaka following her Bayakoa victory, Star Parade earned $150,000 to push her earnings to $326,112. She has won five of 13 starts overall.

Star Parade joins Lovellon (2001) and champions Paseana (1992) and Bayakoa (1990) as Argentine-bred mares to win the Santa Maria.

(Chart, Equibase)

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