ARCADIA, Calif. – With a well-meant Park Avenue providing a target from the opening bell in Saturday’s Grade III, $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita, heavily favored As Time Goes By stalked her to the far turn, took command a quarter mile from the money and prevailed in a thoroughly dominant New Year’s Day performance,
Winning by 13 ½ lengths, Flavien Prat notched his second consecutive stake win and his fifth overall on the day.
“I got myself in the race and she was travelling super well and ran great down the lane. She settled nice and she had a nice target all the way around, and when it was time to make her run she was there for me,” remarked Prat.
Conditioned by Bob Baffert, who got his second stakes win of the day and who was available via telephone from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, As Time Goes By got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:44.31.
“This filly keeps getting better and better with age. I’m really excited. She has always been a barn favorite of mine. She’s got that American Pharoah temperament. They seem to be late bloomers and she is getting better all the time. I am expecting big things from her from here. She will stay here, and I think the Grade I Beholder would be next for her,” Baffert said.
A winner of a pair of Grade II stakes at Santa Anita early last year, As Time Goes By, a 5-year-old mare by American Pharoah, came off a facile 1 ¼ length win in the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos Dec. 5 and was off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of five older fillies and mares and paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10.
On the strength of two recent wins, Park Avenue, trained by John Sadler, was off as the second choice at 7-2 with Juan Hernandez and paid $3.20 and $2.20 while finishing 4 ¼ lengths in front of Moonlight d’Oro.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Richard Mandella’s Moonlight d’Oro was the third choice at 7-2 and paid $2.10 to show while finishing 2 ¾ lengths clear of longshot Fi Fi Pharoah.
The winning owners are Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith.
Michael Tabor commented: “It’s very enjoyable. I didn’t expect such a win that easily. I was hoping she would win, she duly did, and she like it. A very easy win.
“Santa Anita is a great facility, fantastic view, everything you could wish for in a racetrack and when you’re here and want to bring somebody to the races that has never been to the races, it’s a pleasure to bring them here.”
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: As Time Goes By (Benoit Photos)