When last seen, St Trinians ran a game second to Zenyatta in last summer’s Vanity Handicap (gr. I). Eight months later she will return from the sidelines when making her dirt debut in the $150,000 Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 12 at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old mare won the event a year ago.
A field of seven fillies and mares was drawn for the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria, which shares the spotlight with the $250,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) on Santa Anita’s 10-race card.
St Trinians took a late lead against the then undefeated Zenyatta in the nine-furlong Vanity June 13 at Hollywood Park before being run down and defeated by a half-length. The English-bred daughter of Piccolo won the Santa Maria by 1 3/4 lengths two races prior to that for her third consecutive victory.
St Trinians has strung together a solid series of six-furlong works at Hollywood for trainer Mike Mitchell, who expects her to run well off an extended layoff as she has in the past. Joe Talamo will have the mount on the bay mare, who is 7-1-3 in a 13-race career that began in England.
St Trinians, who finished sixth against males in last year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), has earned $308,587 in her career.
If she is going to win off a lengthy layoff, St Trinians will have to defeat probable favorite Washington Bridge, winner of three consecutive races, including the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) last December. The 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Gentleman also won the Life Is Sweet Stakes at Hollywood in November, scoring her first black-type victory in her seventh try.
Jerry Hollendorfer co-owns and trains Washington Bridge, who seems to prefer two turns. This will be only her third start on natural dirt in her 19th time out. Rafael Bejarano will have the call.
Third in the Bayakoa was Zardana, best known for defeating Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes last March, her only win in five starts in 2010. The 7-year-old daughter of Crimson Tide was fourth in last year’s Santa Maria. Victor Espinoza has the mount.
The other four starters are all entering off of victories. Argentine-bred Miss Match won an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields Dec. 31; Vision in Gold was a 4 1/4-length optional claiming victor at Santa Anita on the same weekend; Mona de Momma has been off since winning the grade I Humana Distaff last May and will be trying two turns for the first time; and It Tiz won the Dec. 31 Megahertz Stakes on the Santa Anita turf course.
$150,000 Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. St Trinians (GB), J Talamo, 120, M R Mitchell
2. Vision in Gold (KY), J Rosario, 118, R W Ellis
3. Washington Bridge (KY), R Bejarano, 123, J Hollendorfer
4. Miss Match (ARG), G K Gomez, 118, N D Drysdale
5. Zardana (BRZ), V Espinoza, 118, J A Shirreffs
6. Mona de Momma (KY), A Quinonez, 118, J W Sadler
7. It Tiz (KY), D R Flores, 118, M Glatt