Forget the Derby contenders or the handicap warriors. Perhaps the hottest horse in the country is Summer Colony. The 4-year-old filly knocked out her sixth straight win--and the biggest one to date--in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 9.
Affluent squeezed through a narrow opening on the inside and won a fierce stretch battle over Royally Chosen in the $150,000 El Encino Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Although multiple grade I winner Affluent will be a deserving morning-line favorite in Sunday's grade II El Encino Stakes, it wouldn't be prudent to discount Graceful Cat's chances in the 1 1/16-mile event for 4-year-old fillies.
The regally-named Royally Chosen will have another chance at dethroning the current queen of the 4-year-old fillies, Affluent, in Sunday's El Encino Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles.
Golden Eagle Farm's homebred 2-year-old filly Notable Career set all the fractions en route to a four-length win in the $200,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Sunday at Santa Anita. Euro Empire finished second, a neck ahead of Cindy's Hero.
Elizabeth and Tom Baxter's Cindy's Hero charged along the rail while rounding the turn to move into contention, was swung out for racing room approaching the stretch by jockey Garrett Gomez, and closed gamely though the stretch to earn her first career win in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Saturday at Del Mar.
Trainer Bob Baffert has saddled four of the last five Del Mar Debutante winners and sends out two of the six 2-year-old fillies entered in this year's renewal of the $250,000 grade I race.
Give Praise, who dropped down to the maiden claiming ranks for her first win at Hollywood Park in July, closed through the stretch to win the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) Sunday at Del Mar.
Nelson Hunt's Fort Lauderdale is the 8-5 morning-line favorite to win the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies Sunday at Del Mar.
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