St Trinians, an impressive 1 3/4-length winner of the Santa Maria Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 13, is expected to tackle males in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 6 instead of running against female champion Zenyatta a week later in the $250,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I).
“Vic (Stauffer, agent for St Trinians' jockey Joel Rosario) called me right after the race Saturday and pointed out that we’d be running for three times the money and we wouldn’t have to face Zenyatta,” said trainer Mike Mitchell.
“Looking at it, I think Zenyatta would probably be about 6-5 if she ran in the Big ’Cap, so why face her (in the Santa Margarita) for a third of the money? My mare is really good right now and it looks like some of the big shooters, like Quality Road and Gio Ponti, won’t be here for the Big ’Cap.
The 5-year-old English-bred and raced St Trinians is undefeated in four starts in the United States for Mitchell and Southern California owners Dr. Dan Capen and Laura Chavers. A three-time winner on synthetic tracks in Britain, her record now stands at 7-0-3 from 11 races with earnings of $268,587.
“The only negative is that the Big ’Cap is one week earlier, but we think it’s enough time," Mitchell said. "She came out of the (Santa Maria) really good and the way she’s been finishing in her races here, I don’t think the mile and a quarter is going to be a problem. If you look at her races in England, she faced colts five times and she won three of them. I know it was at lesser tracks (Wolverhampton and Southwell), but she did it in big fields."
In her only try at 1 1/4 miles, St Trinians finished third in a turf race in the summer of 2008 in her third start.
“I spoke with Dr. Capen and we’d like to look at the weights," Mitchell said. "I’d have to think we’d pack three more pounds if we ran against Zenyatta, but if we go to the Big ’Cap, we’d get the three-pound sex allowance and I think that’s important going that distance. We’ll look at the weights, but I’d say we’re pretty much definite for the Big ’Cap.
“Beyond that, we’re going to keep her on synthetic. We would not consider the Apple Blossom (gr. I for possibly $5 million on April 9 at Oaklawn Park) because she’s going to stay on the synthetic.”
St Trinians made her American debut last March at Santa Anita, winning an optional claiming allowance by four lengths. Returning to action following a breather at Hollywood Park Dec. 3, she whipped second-level allowance foes by seven lengths. She followed that up with a 3 3/4-length triumph in the Paseana Handicap at Santa Anita five weeks later.
The bay mare is by Piccolo out of Cherrycombe-Row, by Classic Cliche.