Edens Moon

Edens Moon

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Eden's Moon, Reneesgotzip in SA Oaks Rematch

Kentucky Oaks looms as first two finishers in Las Virgenes clash again March 31.

Reneesgotzip couldn't keep up with Eden's Moon in the recent Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) but the speedy filly will get another chance when the they meet again in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 31.

With Corey Nakatani riding in Dubai Saturday, Garrett Gomez has been given the call by trainer Peter Miller on Reneesgotzip in the 1 1/16-miles event for 3-year-old fillies. Reneesgotzip, who drew post 2 at Santa Anita Park, will race with blinkers for the first time in her four-race career.

The Eclipse Award-winning Gomez was out with a broken heel for 10 weeks but returned to action March 22. He was aboard Reneesgotzip for a five-furlong bullet work of :58 3/5 at Hollywood Park the following day.

With Reneesgotzip and Eden's Moon figuring to dominate, just five were entered in the Santa Anita Oaks, which goes as the fourth race on the program with a 2:03 PDT post. The card includes the inauguration of a pair of $200,000 stakes races for California-bred 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track: The Echo Eddie (10th race) and the Evening Jewel (eighth race) for fillies. Each attracted 13 entrants.

Eden's Moon could not have been more impressive in winning the one-mile Las Virgenes March 3 in her stakes debut. She dueled with Reneesgotzip through hot fractions (a :23.16 opening quarter mile, a half in :46.47). After those two had separated from the rest of the field on the far turn, Eden's Moon had more to give in the homestretch, clearing off in the final furlong to win by 3 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Bob Baffert for owner Kaleem Shah, Eden's Moon has won two of her three races so far. She lost her debut to Reneesgotzip in a six-furlong Cushion Track maiden race last December at Holywood Park before breaking her maiden by 11 1/2 lengths going one mile at Santa Anita March 3. A win makes the Florida-bred daughter of Malibu Moon , a $390,000 2-year-old in training purchase last May, one of the leading contenders for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Eden's Moon drew the rail for Baffert, who has won the Santa Anita Anita Oaks twice previously (in 2003 with Bob and Beverly Lewis' Composure and in 1999 with Golden Eagle Farm's Excellent Meeting). Martin Garcia, who has ridden the bay filly in all of her previous races, once again has the call.

The Las Virgenes did not go smoothly for Reneesgotzip, who was the 6-5 favorite in her first start around two turns following a smashing win in the 6 1/2-furlong Santa Ynez (gr. II) Jan. 15. Reneesgotzip drifted out badly on the first turn before recovering to press Eden's Moon all the way. Racing in close quarters with Eden's Moon, she also bumped with the winner near mid-stretch, although a claim of foul by Miller and Nakatani was disallowed.

Reneesgotzip, a Kentucky-bred chestnut daughter of City Zip owned by the Lanni Family Trust, figures to be tougher at the distance in her second try. It sets up an intriguing rematch.

Also coming out of the Las Virgenes is fourth-place finisher Willa B Awesome, who was edged for the show spot by Open Water. Trained by Walther Solis, Willa B Awesome stalked the leaders before losing ground on the final turn and giving way in the stretch.

Willa B Awesome is owned by Phil Daniels, Patsy London, John Winters, and Terry Lovingier, who bred the chestnut daughter of Awesome Gambler in California. She will be ridden again by Martin Pedroza, who was aboard for their front-running 3 1/2-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) prior to the Las Virgenes.

Baffert also entered Bella's Fantasy, a daughter of Hard Spun  coming off a third-place allowance finish Feb. 12 in her first start against winners. Rounding out the field is Conjure the Spirit, a maiden winner on grass March 11 for trainer Alexis Barba.

$300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I, Race 4, 2:03 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Eden's Moon (FL), M Garcia, B Baffert
2. Reneesgotzip (KY), G K Gomez, P Miller
3. Willa B Awesome (CA), M A Pedroza, W Solis
4. Bella's Fantasy (KY), M E Smith, B Baffert
5. Conjure the Spirit (KY), J Rosario, A Barba
All carry 122 pounds.
Blinkers On: Reneesgotzip