Teddy's Promise, upset winner of the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) last month, puts her three-race victory streak on the line in the $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Jan. 28.
Unlike the La Brea, in which Teddy's Promise defeated her age group Dec. 31, the 4-year-old filly will be taking on older horses in the Santa Monica. Both races are at seven furlongs.
Owned by Ted and Judy Nichols, the California homebred daughter of Salt Lake registered her first stakes win for trainer Ron Ellis in the La Brea at odds of 16-1. Among the fillies she defeated that day was three-time grade I winner Turbulent Descent.
Teddy's Promise's prior two wins during the current streak came in optional claiming events. She will face six rivals in the Santa Monica, which is the centerpiece of a five-stakes card at Santa Anita.
The program includes the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, as well as three stakes restricted to state-breds as Santa Anita's part of the revamped Sunshine Millions program with Gulfstream Park in Florida. The Santa Monica, race 9 on the card, is set for a 4 p.m. PST post.
In the La Brea, Teddy's Promise stalked a hot pace then blasted clear in the homestretch impressively to win while ridden out by 2 1/4 lengths. Victor Espinoza will be once again be aboard Teddy's Promise, who will break from post 3 under top weight of 123 pounds. She spots each of her opponents five pounds.
"The first time I rode her, she hadn’t run for a while and she ran a big race, although I really don’t think Hollywood Park is her track," Espinoza said.
“I really liked her in the La Brea. She ran unbelievable that day, and I think she’s still improving. She’s getting better and better. In past races, she was on the lead, but I think Ron’s figured out that she’s better coming from off the pace.”
Also coming out of the La Brea are runner-up Sugarinthemorning, trained by Ron McAnally, and fourth-place finisher Home Sweet Aspen, from the John Sadler barn. Both are prior stakes winners.
Rumor, a daughter of Indian Charlie trained by Richard Mandella, has won her past two starts, both in stakes, including a 2 1/4-length tally in the 6 1/2-furlong Kalookan Queen Handicap Jan. 1. She will be seeking her first graded stakes win for owners Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farm, and Adele Dilschneider
Others coming out of the Kalookan Queen are third-place finisher Big Tiz, scratched for this spot from the 1 1/16-mile La Canada Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 22 by trainer Mark Glatt, and Bella Diamante, who was fourth for trainer Eric Guillot.
She's Cheeky, a 7-year-old making her first start for Peter Eurton since a runner-up effort in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) on Del Mar's Polytrack Aug. 21, completes the field.
$300,000 Santa Monica Stakes gr. I, Race 9, 4 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Bella Diamante (KY), D R Flores, 118, E J Guillot
2. Big Tiz (KY), C S Nakatani, 118, M Glatt
3. Teddy's Promise (CA), V Espinoza, 123, R W Ellis
4. Home Sweet Aspen (KY), J Rosario, 118, J W Sadler
5. She's Cheeky (KY), J Talamo, 118, P Eurton
6. Rumor (KY), M E Smith, 118, R E Mandella
7. Sugarinthemorning (CA), R Bejarano, 118, R L McAnally