Enola Gray cruises to a maiden victory at Santa Anita

Enola Gray cruises to a maiden victory at Santa Anita

Zoe Metz

Enola Gray, Ralis Headline Cal-Bred Stakes

Grazen filly nearly broke a track record in her debut.

One of the standouts from Santa Anita Park's winter/spring meeting hopes to make an encore performance May 28 at the Southern California racetrack.

It wasn't just that Nick Alexander's homebred Enola Gray won her debut April 10 in a 6 1/2 furlong maiden special weight race for California-bred 3-year-old fillies, it was how the daughter of Grazen cruised to victory.

The Phil D'Amato-trained 3-year-old filly set the pace early, then hit another gear in the turn and sped away from the field to win by 16 1/4 lengths at odds of 4-1. Under the guidance of Tyler Baze, Enola Gray hit the wire in a sizzling 1:13.71, not far off the track record of 1:13.11 set by Square Eddie  in 2011.

In her first start since that breakthrough effort, Enola Gray will be one of the headliners Saturday on a card featuring five stakes for California-bred or California-sired horses with purses totaling $775,000. Off her eye-catching debut, the gray or roan filly is likely to be the favorite in the field of six for the $200,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, but it will also be her first start around two turns at 1 1/16 miles.

In the other $200,000 stakes on the card, the Snow Chief, last year's Hopeful (gr. I) winner Ralis will make his turf debut at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds. Reddam Racing's Square Eddie colt, trained by Doug O'Neill, hasn't had much success since his top-level score at Saratoga Race Course in September. In five starts since, Ralis hasn't finished better than fifth, albeit against quality competition each time, and came in a far-back 10th last time out in the Pat Day Mile (gr. III) on Kentucky Derby day.

The rest of the Snow Chief field also has limited experience on the grass, but two have put in quality efforts. Only Glory Bound and Tough It Out have more than one start on the turf. Tough It Out, another Alexander homebred by Grazen trained by Phil D'Amato, came in second behind fellow Snow Chief entrant Gold Rush Dancer last time out in the Silky Sullivan Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. The mile Silky Sullivan was Gold Rush Dancer's debut on turf.

In the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes, the versatile Boozer will look to earn his third Cal-bred stakes win since late February. The first win for the Mark Glatt trainee came in the Sensational Star Stakes down the Santa Anita hillside turf course and the second  was at a mile at Los Alamitos Race Course. The Unusual Heat gelding will return to a main-track mile in the Tiznow.

In the $100,000 Lennyfrommalibu, Forest Chatter will look to improve on his five-for-six record sprinting down the Santa Anita hillside. A stakes winner down the unique turf course in 2015, the Dixie Chatter  gelding's only loss down the hill (third) came Feb. 27 to Boozer.

Rounding out the stakes schedule is the $125,000 Fran's Valentine, a mile turf race for older fillies and mares. Stakes winners Smoove It, Sheer Pleasure, Velvet Mesquite, and Singing Kitty will contest the Fran's Valentine.

Entries: Lennyfrommalibu S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 28, 2016, Race 1

  • STK
  • About 6 1/2f
  • Downhill turf
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 2:00 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Forest Chatter (KY)Mike E. Smith122Richard E. Mandella6/5
22Pay the Fine (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill9/2
33Ambitious Brew (CA)Flavien Prat122Martin F. Jones7/5
44Old Man Lake (CA)Tyler Baze120Rafael Becerra12/1
55K Thirty Eight (CA)Edwin A. Maldonado120Karen Headley6/1

Entries: Melair S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 28, 2016, Race 4

  • STK
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 3:29 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Enola Gray (CA)Tyler Baze120Philip D'Amato2/5
22Allsquare (CA)Joseph Talamo120Philip D'Amato10/1
33Cheekaboo (CA)Rafael Bejarano124Peter Eurton5/1
44Hacktivism (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Ben D. A. Cecil8/1
55The Spiral Jetter (CA)Santiago Gonzalez120Andy Mathis12/1
66Shy Carmelita (CA)Martin Garcia122Philip D'Amato6/1

Entries: Snow Chief S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 28, 2016, Race 5

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:59 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Ralis (CA)Mario Gutierrez124Doug F. O'Neill5/2
22The Big Train (CA)Santiago Gonzalez120Andy Mathis15/1
33Glory Bound (CA)Edwin A. Maldonado120Craig Dollase10/1
44Midnight Ming (CA)Rafael Bejarano120William E. Morey5/1
55Tough It Out (CA)Joseph Talamo124Philip D'Amato2/1
66Gold Rush Dancer (CA)Flavien Prat124Vann Belvoir9/5

Entries: Tiznow S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 28, 2016, Race 8

  • STK
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 5:29 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Howdy (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Peter Eurton6/1
22Boozer (CA)Edwin A. Maldonado122Mark Glatt5/2
33Songforjohnmichael (CA)Joseph Talamo120Dan L. Hendricks2/1
44Avanti Bello (CA)Rafael Bejarano120Doug F. O'Neill8/1
55Indygo Holiday (CA)Fernando Hernandez Perez120Sean McCarthy15/1
66Soi Phet (CA)Kent J. Desormeaux120Leonard Powell4/1
77Rocko's Wheel (CA)Martin Garcia120Philip D'Amato5/1

Entries: Fran's Valentine S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 28, 2016, Race 10

  • STK
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $125,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 6:29 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Smoove It (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill3/1
22Nite Delite (CA)Stewart Elliott120Art Sherman12/1
33Sheer Pleasure (CA)Martin Garcia122Philip D'Amato7/2
44Madame Mousse (CA)Santiago Gonzalez120Michael Machowsky10/1
55Lily Kai (CA)Drayden Van Dyke120Michael Machowsky8/1
66Bert's Melody (CA)Brice Blanc120Sean McCarthy5/1
77Velvet Mesquite (CA)Tyler Baze120Blake R. Heap9/2
88Singing Kitty (CA)Rafael Bejarano120Matthew Chew4/1