Balance Seeks Rebound in La Canada

Balance Seeks Rebound in La Canada
Photo: Benoit
Is Las Virgenes winner Balance sitting on a big effort in La Canada?
Balance, winner of last year’s Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), could be sitting on a big effort in Sunday's $200,000 La Canada (gr. II) at Santa Anita with her second start following a lengthy layoff for trainer David Hofmans. 

Seven 4-year-old fillies are entered in the 1 1/8-mile event.

Third in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) going seven furlongs on Dec. 30, Balance had been idle since being well beaten in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 5, at Churchill Downs.  Balance, who has had four works over the Cushion Track surface at Hollywood Park since the La Brea, most recently drilled seven furlongs on Feb. 2 in 1:25.  Owned by Amerman Racing Stables, LLC, the daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Thunder Gulch   will once again be ridden by Victor Espinoza. 

“She’s ready now,” said Espinoza, her regular rider who dismissed Balance’s effort in the seven-furlong La Brea. “She’s going to improve at lot at this distance.”

“Sprinting isn’t her thing,” noted trainer David Hofmans. “A mile-and-an-eighth is a much better distance for her, for sure.”

Balance has posted a 4-1-3 record in 9 starts while earning $600,159.

She shares the top weight assignment of 123 pounds with Sugar Shake, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Awesome Again   attempting to follow up on her impressive win in the Jan. 14 El Encino Stakes (gr. II).

Although she was ridden by David Flores for trainer Bobby Frankel, Sugar Shake, a gate-to-wire winner of the 1 1/16-mile El Encino, will get a new rider on Sunday.  Richard Migliore will take over on the Stronach Stables homebred and Flores will ride the “other Frankel,” Florida invader Witch Woman.  

Sugar Shake is fresh off her best career showing in the El Encino, a one-length victory over Kris’ Sis. The filly has earned $208,256 from a record of 4-2-3 in 10 starts.

Witch Woman's most recent start was a third-place finish in a 1 1/16 mile allowance turf event on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park.

$200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Bai and Bai (CA), 118, Roberto M. Gonzalez
2. Les Ry Leigh (MD), 118, Alex O. Solis
3. Witch Woman (FL), 116, David R. Flores
4. Balance (KY), 123, Victor Espinoza
5. Sweet Belle (KY),     116,     Michael C. Baze
6. Kris' Sis (KY), 116, Garrett K. Gomez
7. Sugar Shake (KY), 123, Richard Migliore

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