Let Faith Arise won the 2014 Santa Margarita.

Let Faith Arise won the 2014 Santa Margarita.

Benoit Photo

Let Faith Arise One to Beat in Adoration

After Apple Blossom defeat, grade I winner faces Spellbound, Eblouissante May 18.

Let Faith Arise, winner of the Santa Margarita Stakes (gr. I) in March, stands out among 10 fillies and mares set for the $100,000 Adoration Stakes (gr. III) May 18 at Santa Anita Park.

The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 4-year-old filly, bred in Kentucky by owner Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, returns to Southern California following a fourth-place finish in the Apple Blossom Stakes (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park April 11. She breaks from the rail in the 1 1/16-mile Adoration, formerly the Marjorie L. Everett Handicap at Hollywood Park the past two years and the Milady Handicap before that. The race is the eighth on Sunday's card with a 4:30 p.m. PDT preliminary post.

Let Faith Arise will carry top weight of 124 pounds with regular rider Corey Nkatani aboard. In the nine-furlong Santa Margarita March 15, the daughter of Kafwain disputed the pace from between rivals throughout before pulling clear in the lane for a gutty 1 3/4-length tally. In the Apple Blossom April 11, in which she was 3-1 in a field of five, she chased the pace before weakening to be beaten by three lengths.

Before the Santa Margarita, Let Faith Arise was second in both the Santa Maria and the La Canada (both gr. II) stakes this winter. In the latter race, she was beaten by a neck by Spellbound, who starts in the Adoration for the first time since running fourth in the Santa Margarita.

Richard Mandella trains Spellbound, a 4-year-old Bernardini  filly owned by Ramona Bass, Clairborne Farm, and Adele Dilschneider. Victor Espinoza is expected to return from Baltimore, where he rides California Chrome  in the Preakness (gr. I), in time to be aboard the bay filly. Spellbound, under allowance conditions, will also carry 124 pounds from gate 8.

Will she or won't she is usually the question with the lightly raced Eblouissante, a half sister to the great Zenyatta trained by John Shirreffs for St. George Farm Racing. The 5-year-old daughter of Bernardini has just four lifetime starts since debuting in November 2012 and was scratched out of her last scheduled start, the Santa Lucia Stakes April 20, when she became sick. The strapping dark bay mare, who began her career with two wins, seeks her first stakes triumph with Gary Stevens taking the call.

Hollendorfer will also saddle Scarlet Strike, a grade III winner on turf last year, and Floral Romance, who was stakes-placed in a grade III event on turf recently at Tampa Bay Downs.

$100,000 Adoration Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Let Faith Arise (KY), C S Nakatani, 124, J Hollendorfer
2. Legacy (KY), D Van Dyke, 119, J W Sadler
3. Floral Romance (KY), M E Smith, 119, J Hollendorfer
4. Yahilwa (KY), K J Desormeaux, 119, J M Cassidy
5. Champagneandcaviar (KY), T Baze, 119, G Mandella
6. Eblouissante (KY), G L Stevens, 119, J A Shirreffs
7. Irish Presence (KY), F H Perez, 119, D Velasquez
8. Spellbound (KY), V Espinoza, 124, R E Mandella
9. Warren's Veneda (CA), J Talamo, 119, C A Lewis
10. Scarlet Strike (KY), E A Maldonado, 119, J Hollendorfer