Miss Match Nips Switch in Santa Margarita
Miss Match ran down a weary Switch in the final couple of strides to register a 45-1 upset by a head in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita March 12 (VIDEO).
Always a Princess was able to regain her feet to the applause of the crowd at Santa Anita and was removed from the course by ambulance.
“It’s her (left front) ankle, but she’ll be all right," trainer Bob Baffert said later. "She ran so hard, I think she was just exhausted and went to lay down, you know. She took care of herself. It (ankle) didn’t go down. It probably has a little crack in it. It’s probably condylar or something like that. I feel a lot better about it.”
This was the first victory in the Santa Margarita for the Hall of Fame conditioner, who is now two-for-two with Miss Matched since he took over training the mare this year from Michael Matz. Miss Match won a one-mile allowance race over the Tapeta synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields by 1 1/2 lengths Jan. 23.
“We were just hoping that they’d go fast enough up front and she would come running," Drysdale said. "That’s her style, so we weren’t going to change her style of racing. It played out well apart from that poor filly (Always a Princess) getting injured.”
Le Quebrada bred the winner. The dark bay/brown mare is out of the Southern Halo mare Miss Simpatia.
"I knew she would stay, I just didn’t know if I could get her accelerated enough to pick her back up," Gomez said. "She wasn’t traveling all that great in the middle of the turn. When I first got to the quarter-pole I asked her to pick it up and she did a little bit at a time. As I moved her out and decided to move back in, it was like a whole new horse just jumped right in the bridle. She had this win attitude where she knew what she wanted and she went after it. She came home very well for us.”
Carrying 118 pounds, Miss Match paid a stakes-record $92.40, $14.60 and $6 for the win and topped a $199.80 exacta as the second-longest shot on the board. Switch, who was looking for her third consecutive grade I win of the meet for trainer John Sadler, returned $2.60 and $2.40. Vision in Gold, winner of the Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) in her last start for trainer Ron Ellis, was $3.60 to show.
Rosario noted that Switch was making her first try at nine furlongs.
“We had a good trip," Rosario said. "She just got a little tired in the lane. I’m not disappointed. It’s her first time at a mile and an eighth and she gave me everything she had. She came back good and that’s the main thing.”
MIss Match earned $180,000 for the win, her sixth in 20 lifetime starts, and extended her earnings to $551,614.
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