Gotta Have Her, three-for-three on Santa Anita's hillside turf course and coming off a gritty win in Del Mar's Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) in her last start, looms as the one to beat in Oak Tree's $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) Oct. 17.
Trained by Jenine Sahadi for Green Lantern Stables, Gotta Have Her faces a quality field of fillies and mares in the about 6 1/2-furlong event over Santa Anita's unique layout. Queen Ofthe Catsle, who won last year's Maddy, and grade II winner Tuscan Evening are also leading contenders among 11 rivals challenging the 5-year-old Royal Academy mare.
Gotta Have Her had been close in a number of route events on the turf before finally breaking through in the 1 1/16-mile Palomar Sept. 9. Now she is back to her favorite course while fashioning a 7-6-3 mark in 22 starts and earnings of $630,608. She is top-weighted for the Maddy at 122 pounds.
“I just adore her,” Sahadi said. “I think she’s fabulous. It’s been quite a project to get her to relax and settle out there.”
Regular rider Tyler Baze has the assignment on Gotta Have Her, who breaks from post 2.
Carl Grether’s Queen Ofthe Catsle will attempt to become the third two-time winner in 41 renewals of the Maddy, which was the Autumn Day Handicap until 1999 when it was renamed to honor the late state senator, a staunch advocate for horse racing in the state.
The 5-year-old Tale of the Cat mare, weighted at 120, will be ridden by Mike Smith, who was aboard last year when she scored by one length for her cautiously optimistic trainer, Howard Zucker. Queen Ofthe Catsle enters the race with seven wins and seven seconds in 17 starts and earnings of $410,219.
“She’s very consistent, but the Maddy this year is of grade I caliber," Zucker said. He added, “The only races she’s been worse than second were when she was too close to the pace, but this Maddy is a very tough field.”
With a win, Queen Ofthe Catsle will join Belleski (2003-04) and Bel’s Starlet (1991-92) as two-time winners of the event.
Second high weight at 121 pounds is Irish-bred Tuscan Evening, a 4-year-old filly trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for William Deburgh. Since being imported from Ireland, Tuscan Evening has won five of seven races in the United States this year including Hollywood Park’s Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IIT), in which Gotta Have Her placed third, 1 3/4 lengths back. Positions subsequently were reversed, however, when Tuscan Evening finished eighth in Del Mar’s John C. Mabee (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 miles while Gotta Have Her ran second to streaking Magical Fantasy.
Tuscan Evening has won twice in three tries over the downhill course, her lone loss coming when she finished third behind victorious Gotta Have Her in the Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT) last April.
The bay filly, who will be ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza, has earned $377,408 from a career mark of 5-3-4 in 18 starts. Curiously, she was a maiden when arriving in this country following 11 races in Ireland and England.
Reba Is Tops, weighted at 118 with Joe Talamo to ride, was favored over Queen Of the Catsle when losing by a nose to the latter in Del Mar’s Daisycutter Handicap Sept. 3. She also lost by a nose to Gotta Have Her when second in the Las Cienegas. Trained by Mark Glatt, the hard-hitting Washington-bred has posted a 9-5-3 record in 18 starts for earnings of $254,077.
$100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4 p.m.),
Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Pasar Silbano (IRE), D R Flores, 112, J M Cassidy
2. Gotta Have Her (KY), T Baze, 122, J Sahadi
3. Royal Taat (NZ), J Rosario, 117, J W Sadler
4. Reba Is Tops (WA), J Talamo, 118, M Glatt
5. Tuscan Evening (IRE), V Espinoza, 121, J Hollendorfer
6. Queen Ofthe Catsle (KY), M E Smith, 120, H L Zucker
7. Annihilation (KY), J Valdivia, Jr., 112, D L Hendricks
8. Mohegan Sky (NY), R Migliore, 115, L Rice
9. Gadget Queen (WA), M C Baze, 115, B D Wright
10. Porto Marmay (IRE), C S Nakatani, 117, J C Canani
11. Flashover (CA), A Quinonez, 115, B Abrams