Five of the nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the $150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita April 9 are imported from the British Isles. The field is led by Irish-bred Cambina, in search of her third consecutive win.
The Providencia, at 1 1/8 miles, is the ninth race on the program and provides an intriguing lead-in to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), which follows immediately. There are two other graded stakes on the program.
Trained by Jeff Bonde, Cambina rallied from last to take the La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a nose on Santa Anita's hillside turf course Feb. 21. She returned three weeks later to again charge from far back to capture the one-mile China Doll Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Garrett Gomez, who was aboard the chestnut daughter of Hawk Wing in both victories, has the call once more.
She had a troubled North American debut in the Sweet Life Stakes Jan. 22, steadying hard coming into the stretch and finishing sixth.
Cambina, owned in partnership by A. Bilich, Cline, Schmitt, and others, won two of five starts in her native country for trainer Tommy Stack, giving her a combined mark of 4-1-0 in eight tries with earnings of $150,426.
British-bred Bonita Star won her United States debut at 22-1 for trainer James Lloyd Feb. 12, overcoming a slow start to score from last for Joe Talamo in an first-level allowance by three-quarters of a length. She is a daughter of Beat Hollow that won once in six outings in Great Britain for trainer Michael Channon. Talamo retains the mount.
The runner-up in that Feb. 12 race, British-bred Wave of Applause, also returns in the Providencia for trainer James Cassidy. She had an excuse for her loss when her saddle slipped on jockey Mike Smith after they had opened up a 1 1/2-length lead at mid-stretch. The Royal Applause filly was nosed in her prior U.S. start, the one-mile Blue Norther Stakes Dec. 31.
Irish-bred Whisper Louise makes her U.S. debut for Cassidy. She placed in eight of nine starts in Great Britain, including two victories, and was last seen running third in a listed stakes at Newmarket last Oct. 30.
The other import, British-bred So Belle, was second by a half-length in her U.S. debut, an optional claiming allowance race on the hillside March 4 for trainer Ben Cecil.
Wallstreeter, three lengths behind Cambina when third in the March 13 China Doll, also finished third in the Sweet Life. Eoin Harty trains Darley Stable's Street Cry miss.
$150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:07 p.m.), 3 Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Bonita Star (GB), J Talamo, J Lloyd
2. Withgreatpleasure (KY), P A Valenzuela, R Troeger
3. Wave of Applause (GB), M E Smith, J M Cassidy
4. So Belle (GB), R Bejarano, B D Cecil
5. Whisper Louise (IRE), V Espinoza, J M Cassidy
6. Hard to Resist (KY), J Rosario, P Eurton
7. Cambina (IRE), G K Gomez, J Bonde
8. Wallstreeter (KY), B Blanc, E G Harty
9. True Way of Grace (FL), C Sutherland, A Barba
All carry 118 pounds.