Uraib came from off the pace to nip front-running Resplendency by a nose in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at sloppy Santa Anita on Presidents' Day Monday.
The race, originally a grade II scheduled for a mile on the turf, was switched to the main track, which was rated sloppy. Eight of the 13 horses eligible scratched. In accordance with the policy of the American Graded Stakes Committee, the race was automatically downgraded to grade III as a result of the surface switch. After reviewing the race and field, the committee restore the race to its original grade II status.
Ridden by Jon Court for trainer Sanford Shulman and owners Ron Charles and Shig Katayama's Clear Valley Stables, Uraib came along just in time to win over the 3-2 favorite Resplendency, covering the mile in 1:33.72. The stakes record is 1:33.48, set in 1992 by Gold Fleece.
"We got up in the last jump and that's the way we like to see it happen," said Court.
It was the first stakes win for Shulman at Santa Anita since March 15, 2003, when he won the San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) with Champion Lodge.
The 68-year-old trainer thought the switch to dirt helped his mare because the top turf horses in the field scratched. "It was a little better for us, in fact, because those big turf horses came out."
Well back early, Uraib moved into contention at the top of the stretch and gradually wore down Resplendency.
Patrick Valenzuela, riding Resplendency, dropped his whip inside the final sixteenth of a mile and finished emphatically shaking the reins at his horse. Resplendency was quick out of the gate while pressured early by Any for Love, who faded on the far turn after forcing rapid fractions of :21 3/5, :44 and 1:08 on the gooey going.
Elusive Diva, who challenged Resplendency's lead on the far turn, faded in the stretch under Kent Desormeaux to finish third.
In her only other main track appearance, Uraib ran second on sloppy going at Santa Anita in the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. II) Jan. 8, a race that was also originally scheduled for the turf. She ran second in the Brown Bess at Golden Gate Fields on a soft turf Jan. 30 in her last start.
The victory improved the 5-year-old Mark of Esteem mare's record to 5-4-3 in 20 starts for owner Charles, the executive director of California racing for Magna Entertainment, owner of Santa Anita. Uraib boasts career earnings of $295,164.
She paid $10.80, $4.20 and $2.50 as the third choice. Resplendency, who ran third in the seven-furlong Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) on a fast track Jan. 30 in her last, returned $3.40 and $2.20. Elusive Diva, who was coming off a victory in the Wishing Well on the downhill turf course the same day, was worth $2.20 to show. The exacta was worth $33.
Any For Love and Irgunette completed the order of finish. Katdogawn, Intercontinental, Solar Echo, Belle Ange, Miss Terrible, Ask for the Moon, Hoh Buzzard and Megec Blis all scratched.