Adare Manor crosses the line on cruise control under Juan Hernandez (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.— In what appeared to be the best race of her career, Bob Baffert’s heavily favored Adare Manor was thoroughly dominant in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita as she sped to the lead and easily dispatched a very talented Big Switch en route to a 4 ¾ length score. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, the 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo got a mile and one-sixteenth in 1:43.10.
Breaking alertly, Adare Manor was engaged immediately to her outside by Big Switch, who had run a big second to Adare Manor in a classified allowance here on March 31. Today however, Big Switch was unable to go with Adare Manor heading to the far turn and from the furlong marker home, Adare Manor lengthened her stride, leaving her competition in her wake.
“She was really, really good today,” said Hernandez, who had ridden Adare Manor in both of her previous starts here this year. “I think this is the best she’s ever been. Last time I rode her, she went to the lead like today, but at the end, she still won, but it felt like she was waiting for horses.
“Today, she had a huge stride. This is really a big filly. We had a good break out of the gate and I didn’t change her style…I just let her run and be happy on the lead. Around the quarter pole, I tapped her a couple times and she responded really well.”
A head winner over Big Switch going a flat mile on March 31, Adare Manor was off at 3-5 in a field of five older fillies and mares today and paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10.
Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Adare Manor, who is out of the Giant Gizmo mare Brooklynsway, notched her second graded stakes win and improved her overall mark to 10-4-4-0. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $501,600.
“She’s a big mare and what a beautiful stride she has, she just eats up the ground,” said Baffert. Michael Lund (Petersen) is having a great meet here with Faiza and her and some others…It’s nice to see her train well and perform like that. Juan has really blossomed into such a good rider. He knows these horses well and he rides them with confidence.”
With Big Switch paying the price for early engagement with the winner, Bellamore ran on late for the place under Ramon Vazquez. Trained by Simon Callaghan, Bellamore was off at 5-1 and paid $4.00 and $2.80 while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Big Switch.
Ridden by Joe Bravo and the second choice at 5-2, Big Switch finished 3 ¾ lengths in front of Smoothlikebuttah and paid $2.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.35, 47.16, 1:11.11 and 1:36.37.
Racing resumes on Sunday with first post time for a 10-race card at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.