The opening day card Dec. 26 for the 85-day meet drew 14-horse fields for the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT) as well. And like the Malibu, bettors should have a blast sorting out the 2007 La Brea.
There are no grade I winners in the La Brea. Dawn After Dawn, now in the barn of John Sadler, came closest, finishing third by less than a length in Keenland's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) behind Christmas Kid and Octave on Polytrack in April.
Grade III winners in the La Brea are Ashley's Kitty and Sindy With an S. Several others are in good recent form but take major class hikes here.
Sadler has had Dawn After Dawn for three months, sending out the daughter of Successful Appeal to win a 6 1/2-furlong optional claiming race on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Nov. 30. She won by a head over La Brea rival Swiss Diva.
Prior to that, Dawn After Dawn competed for trainer Wesley Hawley, winning twice in 11 starts over two seasons, mostly in the southeast. She followed her Ashland effort -- which came at odds of 54-1 -- with a fourth-place showing in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
“She had a little rest before her race last month, and she’s doing great now,” said Sadler, fresh from winning his first training title. The 51-year-old Long Beach native was the runaway champion at Hollywood Park with 21 victories.
“This filly’s had an extensive campaign back East, so she’s battle-tested,” Sadler added.
Dawn After Dawn worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s Cushion Track in 1:11 2/5 Dec. 23. She has a 3-2-1 record from a dozen starts, with earnings of $205,373 for Mississippi owners Ike and Dawn Thrash.
Sadler also entered Dearest Trickski, who is on a three-race winning streak since being claimed at Del Mar for $32,000 Aug. 4. Now owned by Tom Mankiewicz, the Florida-bred daughter of Proudest Romeo makes her stakes debut in the La Brea.
Ashley's Kitty is coming off a second-place finish in Oak Tree's 6 1/2-furlong Pine Tree Lane over Santa Anita's Cushion Track Oct. 20 for trainer Ted H. West. Winner of Hollywood's Railbird (gr. III) in May, the Tale of the Cat filly has won four of nine starts in 2007 with a pair of seconds and earnings of $190,958.
Dream Stable's Sindy With an S, third in the Railbird for trainer Mike Mitchell, encountered most of her success in the east this summer, including a 3 1/4-length victory in Laurel Park's Safely Kept Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and a runner-up finish in the Azalea Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Calder.
The daughter of Broken Vow owns a 4-2-1 record in eight starts this year with earnings of $315,959. Her only out-of-the-money performance came in her last start, a fifth-place finish in the Miss Woodford in the slop at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Recent stakes winners in the La Brea cast include Frisk Her, Look Deep, Silky Smooth and Unspoken Word.
$250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 4:07 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Pinata (KY), 117, Martin A. Pedroza
2. Cathrine's Hope (CA), 119, Jon K. Court
3. Ashley's Kitty (KY), 119, Tyler Baze
4. Silky Smooth (KY), 117, Aaron T. Gryder
5. Dawn After Dawn (FL), 117, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Shriek (KY), 115, Richard Migliore
7. Glorified (KY), 115, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
8. Frisk Her (KY), 119, Corey S. Nakatani
9. Dearest Trickski (FL), 117, Mike E. Smith
10. Sindy With an S (KY), 121, Michael C. Baze
11. Look Deep (PA), 117, Victor Espinoza
12. Macadamia (KY), 115, Julien R. Leparoux
13. Swiss Diva (CA), 117, Agapito Delgadillo
14. Unspoken Word (KY), 117, Rafael Bejarano