ARCADIA, Calif. – Idle since Dec. 5, LNJ Foxwoods’ classy Astute came back running on Saturday at Santa Anita, as she easily defeated her well-fancied stablemate Missy P. by 2 ¼ lengths in the $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes. Trained by Richard Mandella and ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, Astute, a 3-year-old filly by 2004 Eclipse Champion Sprinter Speightstown, got seven furlongs in 1:22.94.
Breaking sharply from her number three post position, Astute was in complete control throughout, as Missy P. sat second to her outside, loomed ominously at the top of the lane, but was simply second best on the day.
“She showed what a good filly she is,” said Mandella, who had sent her out to consecutive wins in her first two starts before a disappointing fourth place finish in the Grade I Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos Dec. 5. “At Los Alamitos, she came out of the race with a sore foot, actually had a hard time cooling it out, it was so sore. So, we took time to grow her feet out and she’s paying us back.
“She’s going to be a good filly. I don’t have any doubts that she’ll go further.”
Overlayed in a field of four sophomore fillies at 5-2, Astute returned $7.80 and $2.20 with no show wagering.
“She was a little nervous in the paddock, but she warmed up nice going to the gate,” said Hernandez. “She broke really well and I let her go just to see what was going on and she took the lead really soon. She was comfortable after that. Around the quarter pole, I made her change leads and then when I asked her, she responded right away. She’s a nice filly, she kicked really well in the last part.”
A winner of the ungraded Desi Arnaz Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs two starts back, Astute, who is out of the Langfuhr mare Discerning, is now unbeaten in three sprints, with the mile and one sixteenth Starlet the only defeat on her four-race resume. With the Angels Flight winner’s share of $46,920, Astute now has earnings of $159,920.
A 9 ½ length first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs here on March 12, Missy P. was heavily favored at 1-5 with Tyler Baze and paid $2.10 to place.
Heels Up, last early, loomed up at the rail heading to the quarter pole, but lacked the necessary kick through the drive while finishing third, 2 ¼ lengths better than Stella Noir.
Fractions on the race were 22.51, 45.74 and 1:10.16.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Astute (Benoit)