Tanda, the longest shot in the field, got a dream run at the rail through the stretch to dominate the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 28.
With Alex Solis aboard, Tanda defeated La Nez by 4 1/4 lengths for her first stakes win in the 6 1/2-furlong Pro-Ride test for 3-year-old fillies, coming home in 1:14.36. The field was reduced to five by the scratches of Seriously and Five Silver Stars.
“The way she won today, against this type of competition is amazing," Solis said. "I know there were only five horses, but they were very good horses. She won very easy and she came back like she didn’t even run.”
Tanda chased a lively pace established by Crisis of Spirit, making her first start in four months. As Crisis of Spirit began to weaken in upper stretch, she drifted out, opening a gaping hole for Solis to exploit. La Nez, who was rallying strongly while four wide for Mike Smith coming out of the turn, lost much ground to Tanda, who rallied from last at the rail to grab the lead past mid-stretch. She won with surprising ease under good handling at odds of nearly 6-1.
La Nez edged the slight favorite Sister Dawn, the first to take a crack at Crisis of Spirit at the top of the lane, by a neck for second.
Crisis of Spirit, who finished fourth, completed the opening quarter-mile in :21.92 and the half in a swift :44.34 before retreating. Church Camp, cooked by the hot early pace, was last.
Owned by Tommy Huttons Dream Stable, Tanda picked up her second straight win for trainer Dan Hendricks and has now posted three victories in five starts. In her only prior stakes try, the daughter of Sweetsouthernsaint finished second in the Sweet Life on the Santa Anita hillside turf course Jan. 24.
Tanda, who boosted her earnings to $127,710 with the Santa Paula winning purse of $60,000, defeated an optional claiming allowance field on the hillside in her most recent race March 5.
Kristine Mitchell bred Tanda in Florida. The bay filly, out of the Dr. Caton mare Doc's Stormy Gal, sold for $145,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale last April.
Hendricks was concerned about how Tanda would take to the Pro-Ride after making her previous three starts on grass.
"But now all those worries are gone, and I’m just thankful that David Ingordo bought her at the sale," he said. "He did a super job finding her out of a thousand horses. I owe it all to him and the owner, Bob (Hutton). He was very patient. He told me from the beginning, ‘You don’t have to rush her.’
"I think she’ll go on, off of this race, and I’m not worried about surface or distance now.”
Tanda paid $13.80, $5.20 and $2.60 while keying a $51.80 exacta. La Nez, making her first start since a third-place finish behind Caracortado and Alphie's Bet in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on opening day Dec. 26, returned $3.80 and $2.60. Sister Dawn, the 2-1 choice, was $2.60 to show in her stakes debut for trainer John Sadler.