Lady of Shamrock, a two-time grade I winner on turf last season, commences her 4-year-old campaign in the $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes (gr. IIT) March 24 on the turf at Santa Anita Park.
Hronis Racing's daughter of Scat Daddy will face five opponents in her first start for trainer John Sadler since she ran a troubled fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) over the same Santa Anita course Nov. 2.
Regular rider Mike Smith will be aboard the late-running Lady of Shamrock. She drew the rail in the Santa Ana, a 1 1/8-mile test of older fillies and mares at nine furlongs. The race is the seventh on the Sunday card with a scheduled post time of 3:36 p.m. PDT.
Lady of Shamrock won the American Oaks (gr. IT) and Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in successive efforts last summer and went into the Filly & Mare Turf off a 2 1/2-month layoff. In her first try against older females, she trailed the field in the 1 1/4-mile event for a half-mile. Forced to wait for room mid-stretch, she rallied between horses to finish 2 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Zagora.
She finished last season with four wins from seven starts while banking $626,700.
Lady of Shamrock has posted nine workouts at Santa Anita since Jan. 20 and is coming off a seven-furlong drill on dirt in a sharp 1:25 4/5 March 17. She has won three of her four starts on the Santa Anita lawn.
Sadler said he's looking for a return to the Breeders' Cup for Lady of Shamrock later this year.
"Everything's in good shape," Sadler said. "She's training well and she loves the course, so she's ready to go. We gave her a little break after the Breeders' Cup (Nov. 2). We've got a long year and we've got the Breeders' Cup back here (Nov. 1 and 2), so we didn't want to start her too early."
Also returning from a layoff is Reddam Racing's Quiet Oasis, who has not been out since capturing the Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IIT) gamely by a head July 7 at Betfair Hollywood Park. Trained by Ben Cecil, the 5-year-old Irish-bred mare just missed winning the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) prior to the Royal Heroine, finishing second in the 1 1/8-mile event by a half-length after fighting on the lead throughout.
Pam Ziebarth's California homebred Tiz Flirtatious, trained by Marty Jones, is coming off a victory in the Valentine Dancer Stakes over state-breds Jan. 26 going one mile on the Santa Anita turf. In her only prior effort at nine furlongs, the 5-year-old daughter of Tizbud ran second in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (gr. IIT) against open company at Hollywood.
A Jealous Woman, a stakes winner earlier in the meet for trainer Francis Meza and owners Three Cent Stable and Niles Dickey, tries to bounce back from a seventh-place finish in the Buena Vista Stakes (gr. IIT) at one mile Feb. 18. Meza said the 7-year-old mare had an undetected throat infection but is healthy again. She could dictate the tempo in a field lacking a true pacesetter.
Also coming out of the Buena Vista is fifth-place finisher Long Face, who seeks her first stakes victory for trainer Patrick Biancone.
Arizona shipper Smarty B, winner of the Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise Feb. 2 for trainer Dan McFarlane, completes the field.
$150,000 Santa Ana Stakes (gr. II, Race 7, 3:36 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Lady of Shamrock (KY), M E Smith, 120, J W Sadler
2. Long Face (KY), G L Stevens, 118, P L Biancone
3. Quiet Oasis (IRE), M Gutierrez, 120, B D Cecil
4. Smarty B (KY), T Baze, 118, D L McFarlane
5. A Jealous Woman (CA), B Blanc, 118, F Meza
6. Tiz Flirtatious (CA), J R Leparoux, 118, M F Jones