Mutliple grade II winner Stormy Lucy is the 124-pound highweight in the June 28 Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park that is expected to mark the U.S. debut of New Zealand champion Habibi. The $200,000 Royal Heroine, at a mile on grass, drew a field of 10 fillies and mares.
A 5-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic , Stormy Lucy has won seven of 23 lifetime starts, with a 4-2-2 record in 15 grass outings, and earned $500,200. Bred in Kentucky by Mercedes Stable out of the Dixieland Band mare Here Comes Lucinda, Stormy Lucy was purchased privately earlier this year by Steve Moger and turned over to his brother, Ed Moger Jr. to train. The mare was previously trained by Frank Lucarelli for Erica Gaunt, the widow of Frank Gaunt, and changed hands after winning the Santa Ana (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in March.
Stormy Lucy, who will break from the inside post position under Joe Talamo, made her new connections look good when she came from off the pace to catch Miss Serendipity in the final strides to win the $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIIT) April 13. She subsequently finished fourth, 3 3/4 lengths behind winner Miss Serendipity, in the Gamely Stakes (gr. I).
Another Royal Heroine entrant who enjoyed graded success for new connections earlier this year is Parranda, a 5-year-old daughter of English Channel who finished third in the Gamely as the 2-1 favorite. Previous to the Gamely, the mare came from off the pace to win the $100,000 Wilshire Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Santa Anita Park turf April 27 in her first start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Parranda came into Hollendorfer's barn from Gulfstream Park, where she won the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf and Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) this winter for trainer Rodolfo Garcia. She now races for Hollendorfer, Gillian Campbell, Dan Clark, and Greg Skoda.
Bred in Florida by Kinsman Farm, Parranda was purchased as a 2-year-old by previous owner Lone Stable for $13,000 at the 2011 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April sale. She has won nine of 23 lifetime starts and earned $548,655.
Habibi, the New Zealand champion 3-year-old filly of 2013, was purchased privately in April 2013 by George Strawbridge Jr.'s Augustin Stables and has not raced since a victory in the Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (Aus-I) April 20, 2013.
The daughter of Ekraar who defeated males in last year's TV3 New Zealand Derby (NZ-I), was purchased from her owner-breeders Peter and Heather Crofskey, and co-owners Gavin Crofskey and Pam McIntyre, who have retained a minority interest in Habibi under the Habibi Partnership name.
Trained by Dan Blacker, Habibi has been working steadily toward her U.S. debut, with weekly works at five or six furlongs over Santa Anita's turf course.
Returning from a five-month break in competition is Glen Hill Farm's homebred Wishing Gate, a 4-year-old Indian Charlie filly who criss-crossed the country to race at five different tracks during her seven-race campaign of 2013 highlighted by victories in the San Clemente (gr. IIT) at Del Mar and Autumn Miss (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Wishing Gate will have the services of Hall of Famer Gary Stevens as she makes her first start since finishing fifth as the 4-5 favorite in the Millions Filly & Mare Turf victory of Parranda.
$200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIT, race 5, approximate post time 3 p.m. PDT), 3YO&Up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile, Turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Stormy Lucy (KY), J Talamo, 124, E Moger Jr.
2. Dancingtothestars (CA), M Gutierrez, 119, D O'Neill
3. Wishing Gate (FL), G L Stevens, 121, T Proctor
4. Redressthebalance (IRE), C S Nakatani, 119, G Papaprodromou
5. Moulin de Mougin (KY), M E Smith, 119, R Mandella
6. Moone's My Name (GB), V Espinoza, 119, J W Sadler
7. Habibi (NZ), B Blanc, 119, D Blacker
8. Dutchessa (GB), K J Desormeaux, 119, D Vienna
9. Kathleen Rose (CA), E A Maldonado, 119, M Machowsky
10. Parranda (FL), E Trujillo, 121, J Hollendorfer