Two-time Chilean champion Printemps will make her first start of 2002 in Sunday's $200,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Printemps will receive a three-pound concession from 119-pound highweight Spain in the 1 1/16-mile race.
Printemps won three group I races in Chile, but she has yet to capture a grade I in the United States. In her lone grade I attempt, she finished third in the Overbrook Spinster Stakes at Keeneland last fall. The daughter of the Mr. Prospector stallion Hussonet has also won the grade II Hawthorne Handicap and a restricted stakes race at Santa Anita. She finished her 2001 campaign with a runner-up performance in the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
"She's been good to us," said trainer Ron McAnally. "It's been a while since she's run, but she's coming up to this race really well. If you could have found her a race between now and then (the Falls City), she'd have been in it," McAnally said.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Spain also raced in the Falls City, finishing fifth, but the D. Wayne Lukas-trained daughter of Thunder Gulch has a race under her belt this year. The 2000 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner finished third in the seven-furlong Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) last month, and the additional distance of Sunday's race should suit her.
The field for the Santa Maria. with jockeys and weights, will consist of:
1--Leading Light, Patrick Valenzuela, 114
2--The Seven Seas, Alex Solis, 114
3--Verruma , Garrett Gomez, 114
4--Spain, Victor Espinoza, 119
5--Printemps, Chris McCarron, 116
6--Critikola, Laffit Pincay Jr., 115
7--Queenie Belle, Brice Blanc, 117
8--Favorite Funtime, Gary Stevens, 113