Star Vega Rides Rail to Win Providencia

Star Vega rallied through an opening on the rail to defeat Makeup Artist by a neck Sunday in the $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.

Ridden by Mike Smith at 114 pounds, Star Vega ran 1 1/8 mile in 1:47.89 on firm turf and paid $5, $2.60 and $2.20. Jim Cassidy is the trainer for owners Deron Pearson of Santa Clarita and Jim Ford and John Cuchna of Rancho Santa Fe.

The victory capped a big weekend for the trainer and owners. Their Steelaninch won Saturday's $150,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds.

An English bred by Blue Ocean, Star Vega was taken back to last place as supplemental nomination Shapes And Shadows dictated the pace through fractional times of :22.78, :47.61 and 1:11.84. The winner gained momentum on the last turn, saved ground turning into the lane, and darted powerfully through an opening on the rail.

"You can point her to a small spot and she'll go for it like you have all the room in the world," Smith said. "It helps your confidence, staying in there, knowing a filly will do things like that, and then the hole just opened up that much bigger."

Makeup Artist also finished with good energy but had to settle for second place. The runner-up, ridden by Pat Valenzuela at 115 pounds, paid $3 for place and $3 for show. Shapes And Shadows, Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard at 115 pounds, held for third and a $4 show payoff.

Major Idea, the slight betting favorite over the entry of Star Vega and Katdogawn, finished a disappointing fifth. Major Idea had won three straight races including the Blue Norther Handicap and Some Sensation Stakes at the current meeting.

Star Vega has a 3-1-0 record from six starts with earnings of $124,507. The chestnut filly raced four times, and now has a first and a second in two starts for Cassidy. Sunday's win was worth $90,000.

(Chart, Equibase)