Blue Stripe Upsets in Santa Margarita Stakes

May 1, 2022

ARCADIA, Calif.–Idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 6, Argentine-bred Blue Stripe rallied to overtake favored Miss Bigly late and win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita by one length under Tyler Baze.  Trained by Marcelo Polanco, Blue Stripe, in her second U.S. start, got a mile and one eighth in 1:50.52.

In what looked to be one of the better betting races on today’s 12-race program that included four graded stakes, the Santa Margarita provided fans with a thrilling finish as Miss Bigly, fourth, about one length off the lead mid-way around the far turn, rallied four-deep turning for home, opened up comfortably a furlong out but drifted out in deep stretch while overtaken to her outside by the winner.

“She was so fresh, she was ready to do something and I was not very sure if I should run her in her or wait for another race,” said Polanco.  “But it came out and we just went for it.  I asked the connections if it was okay to run her in here and they said, ‘Whatever you think.’ 

“When the filly came to me last year, six months before the Breeder’s Cup, I kept in contact with the (original) trainer, so (he) kind of gave me all the updates on her, so it was easy.  Plus, she’s so easy (to train), she’s amazing.  It’s a dream for everybody, winning these kinds of races at Santa Anita, it’s amazing.”

A 5-year-old mare who won a Group II in Argentina three starts back on May 1, 2021, Blue Stripe was off at 6-1 in a field of nine older fillies and mares and paid $14.80, $5.40 and $3.80.

Owned by Pozo de Luna, Inc., Blue Stripe now has five wins from eight overall starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $181,882.

“You know, I worked her before she ran in the Breeders’ Cup and didn’t get to ride her,” said Baze, who notched his second career victory in the Santa Margarita and his third on the Saturday card.  “Coming into this race, I didn’t even know I was on her.  I hadn’t been on her, but I heard some workout reports that said she was ready and she was on fire and working tremendous.

“Marcelo said to try to get mid-pack somewhere and give a good, clean trip.  I didn’t know what kind of gas pedal I had under me until the three eighths pole.  I asked her and she ran up to ’em so quick, it caught me off guard.  I kinda had to tap on the brakes but even with doing that, when I asked her again, she accelerated and came home…She swapped leads and I got after her one time left-handed and she just leveled off and (wow!)”

Attentive to the pace, Miss Bigly swung out from behind a wall of horses turning for home, spurted clear, but was second best, finishing 6 ½ lengths in front of Varda.  Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Miss Bigly was off at even money and paid $2.60 and $2.40.

Varda, off at 9-1 with Drayden Van Dyke, rallied from far back to finish three quarters of a length in front of Bye Bye Bertie while paying $4.60 to show.

Fractions, which were set early by eventual fifth place finisher Park Avenue, were 22.67, 46.41, 1:10.61 and 1:37.05.

Santa Anita Press Release

Photo: Blue Stripe (Benoit Photo)

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