Vamo a Galupiar gave trainer Neil Drysdale his second grade II turf win of the day when she rallied at the middle of the course to win the $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) by a half-length at Santa Anita March 25.
The 1 1/8-mile race was contested in a driving rainstorm that made it difficult to sort out of the horses. In an evenly matched event for older fillies and mares, the late-running Chilean-bred Vamo a Galupiar was overlooked at odds of 7-1.
Ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, who logged his 4,997th North American victory, lightly raced 5-year-old Vamo a Galupiar was timed in 1:48.89 over a course downgraded from firm to good prior to the race.
Smith said Vamo a Galupiar means "Let's Go Gallop."
"And that's what she did today," Smith told HRTV. "She's superior on soft ground. I was able to get clear and she did the rest."
Drysdale, the Hall of Fame conditioner, has had a quiet meeting at Santa Anita with two wins from 22 starters going into the March 25 program. But he broke out of it in a big way, winning the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) earlier on the card with Bourbon Bay.
Asked how he was feeling after Vamo a Galupiar's surprise victory, a soaked Drysdale responded: "A lot better than the weather.
"At one stage, I wasn't sure she would get there but she dug in and proved her worth," he added.
Drysdale won the Santa Ana for the second time. His first victory came in 1998 with Thoroughbred Corp.'s Fiji in 1998.
Vamo a Galupiar won the one-mile Megahertz overnight stakes Jan. 21 over the course. But her supporters jumped off the bandwagon when she ran sixth as the favorite in the Buena Vista Stakes (gr. IIT). That race, also at one mile, found Vamo a Galupiar beaten just 1 3/4 lengths in a crowded finish.
Given a little more room to run, Vamo a Galupiar got the job done for Smith after lagging toward the rear in the field of 10. Vamo a Galupiar overcame the rail starting post to win for the second time in four Southern California races. She was previously a grade I winner in Chile.
Robert S. Evans owns Vamo a Galupiar, a chestnut mare by Proud Citizen --Affirmate, by Special Quest. She was bred by Haras Don Alberto.
Camelia Rose led briefly at mid-stretch before Wild Mia, progressing from between horses in the homestretch for David Flores, took over after the pacesetters backed out. But she could not hold off Vamo a Galupiar, who settled well off the pace early, angled out on the backstretch and rallied four wide coming off the final turn.
Vamo a Galupiar was still sixth at the eighth pole but came home impressively under some urging by Smith to get control in the final strides.
In a three-way photo for second, Wild Mia prevailed for second by a nose over 65-1 shot Hard Seven, a Turf Paradise shipper who was right there throughout. City to City, the Buena Vista winner, was nosed for third after also racing wide as the 123-pound top weight.
Vamo a Galupiar won for the fifth time in eight lifetime starts and extended her earnings to $190,512. She was trained in Chile, where she won her first three starts, by Patricio Baeza.
The winner carried 118 pounds and paid $17.20, $9, and $6.60 as the fourth choice. Vamo a Galupiar topped an $175.80 exacta with Wild Mia, who returned $10.60 and $6.60 in her first start since running a close third in the Buena Vista for trainer Jerry Fanning. The Dan McFarlane-trained Hard Seven paid $15.40 to show with Edwin Maldonado aboard. The $1 trifecta was worth $2,246.60.