Trainer Doug O’Neill capped a huge weekend at Santa Anita on Sunday when his Super Freaky captured the the $113,400 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course.
O'Neill saddled Lava Man for his repeat in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and Great Hunter to win the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) as part of a four-win day at the Arcadia track Saturday. Unlike O’Neill’s heavily favored runners in those races, Super Freaky was not so well fancied at 6-1 odds after being 15-1 on the morning line. With Jon Court aboard, she won the about 6 1/2-furlong event by 1 1/4 lengths in a good time of 1:12.66 on firm going.
Macadamia, a 52-1 outsider who finished second, was disqualified for causing chain-reaction bumping during the stretch run. She was ultimately placed sixth in the field of 10. The incident elevated favored Pay Wright to second and Seaside Affair to third among the fillies chasing Super Freaky. Pay Wright, ridden by Garrett Gomez, finished a nose in front of Seaside Affair.
Voulez Vous, who set a wicked early pace -- :20 4/5 for the opening quarter mile and :42 3/5 for the half -- while building a seven-length lead coming down the hill under Julien Leparoux, broke down after crossing the dirt portion of the track and was removed from the track by van. The Elusive Quality filly, a $775,000 2-year-old purchase by owners Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, was later euthanized.
As Voulez Vous bolted off to the early lead, Court placed Super Freaky second in a comfortable stalking position. When Voulez Vous eased before turning into the stretch, Court inherited the lead with his Florida-bred filly.
“I was a little concerned that I made the lead as early as I did and I could have waited,” he said, “but she was eager to run coming to the dirt (crossing), and I decided not to interfere with her. She hit the dirt with authority and was able to kick clear.”
In registering just her second win in seven starts, Super Freaky paid $15.40, $6.40 and $4.60 while earning $68,040 for owners Pablo Suarez and Alex Vennari. Super Freaky, whose career earnings were elevated to $114,640, was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita Jan. 27.
“(Court) had such a clear run down the hill, no pressure from behind, no pressure from the sides, and it sure helped a ton," O'Neill said. "Jonny’s the man."
Super Freaky, a dark bay filly by Smart Strike --Elrose (Deputy Minister), was a $140,000 Keeneland yearling buy. Starlight Stables bred her in Florida.
Pay Wright, who finished one-half length behind Macadamia prior to the latter’s disqualification, paid $4 and $3.20. The show price on Seaside Affair, with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard, was $7.
Macadamia, ridden by Brice Blanc, bumped Seaside Affair during the stretch run. The incident set off a chain reaction that also involved fifth and sixth-place finishers Princess Iris and Setafire. The stewards placed Macadamia behind Setafire while advancing the other four.
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