Impressive Rags to Riches Back for Santa Anita Oaks

Impressive Rags to Riches Back for Santa Anita Oaks
Photo: Benoit
Rags to Riches and Garrett Gomez win the Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 10.
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(from Santa Anita report)
Rags to Riches, who went from a maiden victory to grade I success in the Las Virgenes Stakes, will attempt to further enhance her reputation in Sunday’s $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Rags to Riches, who won the Feb. 10 Las Virgenes as the 5-2 favorite by three-quarters of a length with a looping move under Garrett Gomez, faces many of the same 3-year-old fillies who chased her last time.

Six opponents signed up to face the $1.9 million daughter of A.P. Indy Sunday, including Las Virgenes runner-up Baroness Thatcher, third-place finisher Runway Rosie and fourth-place Cash Included.

A 2005 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Rags to Riches broke her maiden by six lengths at Santa Anita on Jan. 7 following a dull effort in her racing debut at Churchill Downs the previous June for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Her victory in the one-mile Las Virgenes was accomplished in spite of racing some five lengths wide the entire journey  “I haven’t seen a horse do what she did and win, especially a lightly raced filly like that,” observed assistant trainer Michael McCarthy, who saddled Rags to Riches in Pletcher’s absence.

“I don’t know if she is mature for her age,” said Gomez, “but she certainly is talented.”

Nominated to the Triple Crown events, the chestnut filly with earnings of $180,100 will break from the outside post in the Oaks, which has spawned such distinguished fillies as 1988 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Winning Colors, Sharp Cat, Serena’s Song, Fran’s Valentine, Althea, Silver Spoon and Busher.

Baroness Thatcher, who set all the pace in the Las Virgenes before being overtaken in deep stretch, may find herself on an easy lead again in the Oaks. Trained by Patrick Biancone for Zayat Stables, Baroness Thatcher won the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles earlier in the meet. The daughter of Johannesburg has raced six times with two victories and two seconds for earnings of $157,523.

Earlier on the Sunday program, Wilko will attempt to gain his first victory since taking the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), a losing streak that encompasses 14 races. The 5-year-old chestnut, who has earned $2,423,454 from a 3-2-10 record in 25 career starts, will face six rivals in the $75,000 Santana Mile.

$300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I, Race 9, 4:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Runway Rosie (KY), Richard Migliore
2. Slew o' Platinum (KY), Chris Landeros
3. Cash Included (KY), Corey S. Nakatani
4. Baroness Thatcher (KY), Julien R. Leparoux
5. Quickandquietqueen (KY), David Cohen
6. Silver Swallow (FL), Alex O. Solis
7. Rags to Riches (KY), Garrett K. Gomez
Each assigned 122 pounds.

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