Richard Baltas has a two-pronged attack planned for the Grade I, $300,000 Gamely Stakes, to be run at a mile and one eighth on turf on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.
Currently battling for the training lead with Bob Baffert, Baltas will enter English-bred Bodhicitta and Irish-bred Lady Prancealot in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, three and up.
“It’s kind of a step up for Bodhicitta, but (Flavien) Prat wants to ride her back and she’s doing well, so if we could just run third, we’d be real happy with the filly,” Baltas said.
“Lady Prancealot is doing great. She’s already a Grade I winner (the American Oaks at a mile and a quarter last Dec. 28). She’s been a gem and a pleasure to have in the barn.”
Baltas has engaged Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez to ride Lady Prancealot, a stone closer who was fourth in the Grade II Buena Vista on Feb. 22, which at one mile, is a less-than-ideal distance for her.
Early Gamely probables include Beautiful Lover, Bodhicitta, Etoile, Keeper Ofthe Stars, Lady Prancealot and Mucho Unusual.
Baltas not only is delighted to be back in action at Santa Anita, but was proud to point out Saturday’s massive inter-state wagering handle of $14,342,635 on the 10-race program, the track’s first since March 22.
“They handled 14-plus million, more than Gulfstream and more than Churchill,” Baltas said. “It shows that the desire for people to gamble on California racing is very strong.
“They love the product. When we put it out there, it’s as good as it gets.”
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Lady Prancealot and Joe Bravo win the Grade I American Oaks in December 2019 at Santa Anita. Credit: Benoit Photos