California invader Santa Teresita has won multiple races on the West Coast, including a triumph in the Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. But now the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid will have to prove her form on dirt when she takes on five rivals in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. II) April 18 at Hawthorne Race Course.
In Santa Teresita’s lone attempt on traditional dirt in the grade II Delaware Handicap last summer, she was a distant seventh, beaten 26 1/4 lengths by Hystericalady. And while there are no apparent Hystericalady-types in this field, and her trip in the Delaware Handicap was far from clean, it would still seem reasonable to question her abilities over dirt.
Owned by Southern Equine Stable and trained by Eric Guillot, 5-year-old Santa Teresita has produced four wins from 14 starts – all of them on synthetics or turf. She won the Santa Maria by 2 1/2 lengths in her season debut Feb. 14, and then came back a month later to finish a solid runner-up in the Santa Margarita Invitational (gr. I), also on the Santa Anita Pro Ride surface.
Santa Teresita was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and Westwind Farms, and is out of the Gilded Time mare Sweet Gold. With earnings of more than $450,000, she has been made the 7-5 morning line favorite and will carry high weight of 122 pounds. Joe Talamo flies in for the mount. They will break from the rail.
Five others will line up for the 1 1/8-miles test for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up, including a few local contenders. They include Apple Martini, a full sister to Illinois Derby (gr. II) runner up Giant Oak, and Kathleens Reel, a recent winner of an overnight stakes, who was also third in this race last year.
Swift Temper might be the main danger to the favorite, as she is already a graded winner on dirt by virtue of her upset score in the Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park. She enters this race fresh off a solid placing in the Sabin Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. Swift Temper is trained by Dale Romans and will be ridden by Chris Emigh.
The Sixty Sails Handicap will go off as the seventh race of a 10-race program. Post time is set for 4:16 p.m. CDT.