Scarlet Strike (right) has been grade I-placed three times in her career.

Scarlet Strike (right) has been grade I-placed three times in her career.

Benoit Photo

Providencia Fillies Seek First Graded Win

Ten 3-year-olds vie in 1 1/8-mile grass test led by China Doll winner Birdlover.

Ten sophomore fillies vie for a first graded stakes win in the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita Park turf course April 6.

The Providencia immediately precedes the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on a superb 11-race Saturday afternoon card at Santa Anita. The Providencia is the eighth on the program with a 3:30 p.m. PDT scheduled post.

Six of the entrants in this year's event ran in the China Doll Stakes March 9, a race won by 10-1 shot Birdlover. The British-bred daughter of Byron was registering her first win from four United States starts for trainer Doug O'Neill, who conditions the chestnut filly for a group of owners.

Edwin Maldonadao retains the mount on Birdlover, who graduated in her third start in England for trainer Ralph Beckett before transferring to Southern California.

O'Neill also entered Reddam Racing's Irish-bred Wittgenstein, who was sixth in the China Doll. The daughter of Shamardal returned to win a first-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles by a head in a game effort over Providencia rival Sweet Red Cat.

Also coming out of the one-mile China Doll are runner-up Magnificent Shirl, Akiss Forarose (third), Flashy Ways (fourth), and favored Sarach (fifth).

Sarach, conditioned by Richard Mandella for Wertheimer and Frere, was four wide into the stretch after chasing the pace. The daughter of Arch had won her previous two starts this year, both at one mile on turfa maiden victory and a first-level allowance score. Victor Espinoza takes the call.

The most accomplished filly in the race is Scarlet Strike, who has been grade I-placed three times in her career, most recently in the Las Virgenes Stakes March 2.

The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has had just one start on grass, and it wasn't bad. She finished second, beaten a nose by Sky High Gal, in the one-mile Blue Norther Stakes over the Santa Anita course Jan. 1. Rafael Bejarano rides the Smart Strike filly owned in part by Hollendorfer along with John Carver and Green B. Smith. Never worse than third in nine lifetime starts, Scarlet Strike has only a maiden win.

Hollendorfer also saddles Smith's Magnificent Shirl, who was 1 1/2 lengths behind Birdlover in the China Doll.

$150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 3:30 p.m.), 3YO Filiies, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Kyriaki (KY), J Talamo, P Eurton
2. Sultry Season (KY), A T Gryder, J Periban
3. Sarach (KY), V Espinoza, R E Mandella
4. Sweet Red Cat (KY), G K Gomez, J W Sadler
5. Birdlover (GB), E A Maldonado, D F O'Neill
6. Scarlet Strike (KY), R Bejarano, J Hollendorfer
7. Magnificent Shirl (KY), T Baze, J Hollendorfer
8. Flashy Ways (KY), M Garcia, R Baltas
9. Wittgenstein (IRE), M Gutierrez, D F O'Neill
10. Akiss Forarose (CA), O Mojica, G Sherlock
All carry 118 pounds.
Blinkers Off: Sultry Season