Becca Taylor is the horse to beat In Spring Fever Stakes

February 19, 2022

ARCADIA, Calif. —Perfect in five starts, Nick Alexander’s homebred Becca Taylor returns from Golden Gate Fields and is the horse to beat as five older fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes on Monday at Santa Anita.

Sponsored by CTBA, the Spring Fever is part of the lucrative Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners.

Stakes winning Smiling Shirlee, in what will be her second start off a 15-month layoff, should improve with a recent race to her credit and certainly has the class to make her presence felt.

A galloping four length allowance winner going 5 ½ furlongs on synthetic Tapeta Jan. 29 at Golden Gate, Becca Taylor, a 4-year-old filly by Old Topper out of the General Meeting mare Lady Sax, had been unraced since winning the seven furlong Evening Jewel Stakes versus statebreds here on April 3, 2021. 

Trained by Steve Miyadi, Becca Taylor has proven extra game dating back to her first-out maiden win at Los Alamitos on Dec. 13, 2020 and with Flavien Prat, who guided her to victory in the Evening Jewel getting back aboard, should be extremely tough to deny in what will be her second stakes engagement. 

Idle since Nov. 8, 2020, Smiling Shirlee, a 5-year-old mare by Smiling Tiger, was off at 46-1 in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf Jan. 15 and was never a factor, finishing last in a field of 12 in a race that she no doubt needed.

Back to her preferred surface and with a race under her belt, Smiling Shirlee, who won the 2020 Evening Jewel at Santa Anita, will be ridden by Kyle Frey and could be poised for a big effort. 

Owned by Edward Brown, J. Rusty and Alan Klein, Smiling Shirlee is out of the Grand Slam mare Whobetterthanus and has amassed earnings of $294,720 from an overall mark of 14-3-3-2.


Race 5 of 8  Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT

Governor Goteven—Tyler Baze—124

Omg It’s Jessica—Victor Espinoza—120

Smiling Shirlee—Kyle Frey—124

Super Game—Drayden Van Dyke—122

Becca Taylor—Flavien Prat—124

First post time for an eight-race card on Monday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

Santa Anita Press Office

Photo: Becca Taylor/ Benoit Photot

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