St Trinians, the defending Santa Maria winner, finished a half-length back in third in the field of five older fillies and mares. The time was 1:41.55 for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.
Vision in Gold, ridden by Joel Rosario, clipped off solid fractions of :23.77, :47.80, and 1:11.64 while maintaining a half-length edge over Zardana, who increased the pressure in the lane under Victor Espinoza but ran out of time.
A 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'oro out of the Corporate Report mare Corporate Vision, Vision in Gold is trained by Ron Ellis for owner Jay Em Ess Stable. A $360,000 Keeneland September sale yearling in 2008, the dark bay/brown filly was bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm.
"When we passed the three-quarter pole and started down the backside, she had her ears up and she was very relaxed," said Rosario, who won the $250,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) two races earlier with Anthony's Cross. "At the top of the stretch, when that other horse (Zardana) came up outside of us, my filly was just waiting for competition and she finished really strong. She’s improved a lot in her last two races.”
Vision in Gold was coming off a 4 1/4-length win in an optional claiming allowance event at the Santa Maria distance Dec. 30 at Santa Anita. The latest win was her third in eight career tries and boosted her earnings to $172,480. All three of Vision in Gold's victories have come at Santa Anita, where she broke her maiden in her second start last March.
Sent off as the fourth choice in the Santa Maria, Vision in Gold carried 118 pounds and paid $12.20, $5.20, and $3. Zardana returned $5 and $2.40 and completed a $47.20 exacta. St Trinians was $2.40 to show.