Alphabet Kisses Spells Trouble in Santa Monica

Alphabet Kisses Spells Trouble in Santa Monica
Photo: Benoit
La Brea Stakes winner Alphabet Kisses
Grade I winners Alphabet Kisses and Leave Me Alone are the co-high weights at 119 pounds among nine fillies and mares entered in Santa Anita's $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Sunday.

Both Alphabet Kisses and Leave Me Alone are entered in the $300,000 Argent Mortgage Filly & Mare Sprint during the Sunshine Millions program at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Harris Farms' Alphabet Kisses, who has won three of four starts at the distance, including Santa Anita's La Brea Stakes (gr. I) 13 months ago, drew the rail and will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela for the first time. Marty Jones trains the 5-year-old gray mare.

Leave Me Alone, winner of Saratoga's seven-furlong Test Stakes (gr. I) by 7 ¾ lengths last summer, will have Kent Desormeaux back aboard while breaking from post position No. 3.

With earnings of $586,370, Leave Me Alone leads the field in that respect. Trained by Eric Kruljac for S.M. Mitchell Ranch, the 4-year-old filly has posted a career record of 5-3-0 in 11 starts.

Kruljac said he would make an 11th-hour decision on which race Leave Me Alone will run in.

"No decision has been made yet," Kruljac said Friday morning. "I'm going to look at the draw, see who's in the race, and then try to do the right thing. I definitely would scratch (from the Sprint) before Lasix would be administered, which is no later than four hours before the race."

Sharp Lisa, who took last season's Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at one mile under Corey Nakatani, will be reunited with the jockey while breaking from the outside post.

A less accomplished contender is trainer Bob Baffert's lightly-raced 5-year-old mare, Behaving Badly, who has won four of six lifetime starts including an allowance event at Hollywood Park last month while running six furlongs in 1:08. With Victor Espinoza in the saddle, she will start from post No. 8.

Trainer Bradley Ross and Miss Terrible are back for the Santa Monica. The loquacious trainer and the consistent mare were among the new faces at Santa Anita last February when Ross saddled the 7-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Numerous to capture the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III).

Miss Terrible won at Churchill Downs last May after the Las Flores, but is winless in four subsequent starts after campaigning in the Midwest. Miss Terrible has a 10-2-0 record from 17 starts, with earnings of $290,311 for her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hammersmith of Illinois.

$250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 4 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Alphabet Kisses (CA), 119, Patrick Valenzuela
2. Miss Terrible (ARG), 117, Garrett Gomez
3. Leave Me Alone (CA), 119, Kent Desormeaux
4. Nossa Cancao (BRZ), 112, Omar Berrio
5. Awesome Lady (KY), 114, Jon Court
6. Reforest (KY), 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
7. Allswellthatnswell (CA), 112, Isaias Enriquez
8. Behaving Badly (NY), 115, Victor Espinoza
9. Sharp Lisa (KY), 116, Corey Nakatani

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