A dominant winner of the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) to kick off the Santa Anita season, Switch returns to action Jan. 30 seeking her second grade I triumph in a row in the $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes (gr. I) for trainer John Sadler.
Switch looks like a firm standout in Santa Anita's seven-furlong Santa Monica. The 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American has clashed with some of the best females in the country recently and done well.
After running a game second to Zenyatta in Oak Tree's 1 1/16-mile Lady's Secret by a half-length last fall, she followed with a solid runner-up finish behind Dubai Majesty in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Dropped back in against her age group in the La Brea, she romped to a four-length victory as the 6-5 favorite Dec. 26.
Her two previous races were also at the Santa Monica distance.
Joel Rosario will be back aboard Switch, who is owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable. An effort even approaching her display in the La Brea, which she accomplished in a stakes-record time of 1:20.33 over Santa Anita's lightning fast main track, ought to be good enough against her seven opponents in the Santa Monica.
“She won easy,” Rosario said after the La Brea. “She’s a nice filly. She can run short, she can run long. Nice horses like that, they can do whatever.”
Switch will break from the outside post and carry high weight of 123 pounds while attempting to beat older rivals for the first time. She has earnings of $632,600 from a 4-3-2 mark in 11 races after being purchased for $150,000 as a yearling.
The Santa Monica is the seventh race on the program with a 3:36 p.m. PST scheduled start.
Switch’s stiffest opposition may be provided by stablemate Mona de Momma, whom Sadler trains for Michael Talla. The 5-year-old mare has not been out since May 1 when she captured the Humana Distaff (gr. I) over a sloppy track at Churchill at odds of 8-1. She took Santa Anita’s Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) over the Pro-Ride track a month earlier.
Rosario, who was in the saddle for both of those wins, will be replaced by Alonso Quinonez in the Santa Monica. The stretch-running Mona de Momma has earned $377,619 while winning five of 11 career starts.
The field includes only two other graded stakes winners, Pica Slew and Sweet August Moon.
A 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of the speedy Pico Central, Pica Slew will be making her first start for trainer John Shirreffs after fading badly when something went amiss as the 7-2 favorite in Saratoga’s Test Stakes (gr. I) last Aug. 7. She won Calder's Azalea Stakes (gr. III) prior to that to highlight a 2010 campaign in which she captured three of four starts, all as the favorite.
Owned by Terra Di Sienna Stables, Pica Slew has been training forwardly at Hollywood Park since coming to Shirreffs, the ex-Marine who gained international renown as the trainer of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta. Joe Talamo rides the bay filly.
Sweet August Moon, trained by Brian Koriner for Legacy Ranch and Team MacPherson, took the A Gleam Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park last summer while going seven furlongs. The 6-year-old mare won the Las Flores in 2009.
But Sweet August Moon, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, could make little impression in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint while finishing fifth at 39-1, beaten by 8 1/2 lengths. Sweet August Moon has compiled a career record of 7-1-2 in 20 starts for earnings of $462,396.
Zayat Stables' Mother Ruth was a front-running winner of the Kalookan Queen Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Jan. 7 for hot trainer Bob Baffert. The 5-year-old daughter of Speightstown won three of seven in 2010 and possesses the speed to be dangerous on this track.
Also in the Santa Monica are Gilded Gem (trained by Baffert as well) and Quisisana, who ran second and third, respectively, in the Kalookan Queen.
$250,000 Santa Monica Stakes (gr. I, Race 7, 3:36 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Pinkarella (KY), P A Valenzuela, 118, D F O'Neill
2. Mother Ruth (KY), M E Smith, 118, B Baffert
3. Pica Slew (FL), J Talamo, 118, J A Shirreffs
4. Sweet August Moon (PA), G K Gomez, 118, B J Koriner
5. Mona de Momma (KY), A Quinonez, 120, J W Sadler
6. Quisisana (CA), D R Flores, 118, M Puype
7. Gilded Gem (KY), R Bejarano, 118, B Baffert
8. Switch (KY), J Rosario, 123, J W Sadler