Heat Haze a Blur in Las Cienegas Stretch

Juddmonte Farm's Heat Haze, with Jose Valdivia Jr., riding, barreled through the stretch to run the down the leaders and register a smart victory Saturday in the $110,000-added Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT) for older fillies and mares on the Santa Anita downhill turf course.

The English-bred Heat Haze, a 4-year-old daughter of Green Desert, won her second race for trainer Bobby Frankel on the Santa Anita downhill sod since arriving in the United States at the end of last year.

Heat Haze carried 114 pounds to victory. The final time for the about 6 1/2-furlong distance was 1:13.

Reserved near the rear of the eight-horse field as the pack made its way down the hill, Valdivia brought Heat Haze out to the middle of the track for the stretch run and she responded gamely, flashing past front-running Icantgoforthat in the final furlong. She won by about three lengths over Icantgoforthat, ridden by Tyler Baze at 40-1, who held on for second by a head over Paga and jockey David Flores.

Icantgoforthat, making her first start on turf, set fractions of :22 for the opening quarter-mile and :44 2/5 for the half, giving the fast-closing Heat Haze something to aim at. Paga was third down the hill while staying within striking distance, but could not get past Icantgoforthat in the run for the wire.

"She played with this field today," Valdivia said. "Frankel's barn is so loaded and getting more good horses every day. I'm just glad to be part of the team."

Frankel won the Las Cienegas last year with Rolly Polly. He also won it in 1989 with Imperial Star.

The victory, worth $66,000, was the fourth for Heat Haze in eight starts and pushed her career earnings to $148,238.

Sent off as the co-favorite with Paga at 5-2, Heat Haze paid $7.60, $5 and $4. Icantgoforthat returned $27.60 and $9.60. Paga's show price was $3.60. The $2 exacta was worth $247.20.

(Chart, Equibase)