ARCADIA, Calif.–Classy Grade I winner Going to Vegas is back to defend her title in Saturday’s Grade III, $125,000 Santa Ana Stakes as she heads a field of nine older fillies and mares going a mile and one quarter over the Santa Anita turf. Most recently a sharp second going one mile on turf in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes March 5, Going to Vegas will be reunited with Umberto Rispoli, who was aboard for last year’s Santa Ana triumph.
Second, beaten a half length by front-running Leggs Galore in the Buena Vista, Going to Vegas, who had been idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Nov. 6, appears primed for a top effort with Rispoli, with whom she won the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes at a mile and one quarter on turf here three starts back on Oct. 2.
A 5-year-old mare by Goldencents out of the Johannesburg mare Hard to Resist, Going to Vegas is trained by Richard Baltas and is owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC, Medallion Racing and MyRacehorse. A gate to wire winner of both the Rodeo Drive and last year’s Santa Ana, Going to Vegas has two wins and a second from three tries at the Santa Ana distance.
A tremendous claim 15 starts back on June 12, 2020, Going to Vegas has rewarded her connections with four wins, three of them in graded stakes. With an overall mark of 24-7-9-2, she has earnings of $674,151.
Fourth to Going to Vegas in last year’s Santa Ana, French-bred Neige Blanche has never been better for Leonard Powell at age five. A winner of two consecutive Grade III turf stakes, the Red Carpet at 1 3/8 miles on Nov. 25 at Del Mar and the Astra at a mile and one half on Jan. 17, long fused Neige Blanche has won four out of her last six races including last year’s Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes at a mile and one half on turf May 8.
Owned by Madaket Stables, LLC, Laura De Seroux, Marsha Naify, et al, Neige Blanche will be ridden for the eighth consecutive time by high flying Juan Hernandez, who has nine stakes wins at the current meet, second to Flavien Prat’s 15.
Reserved far off of Leggs Galore early, Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks finished strongly to be third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the Buena Vista March 5. Although she was finishing well, Closing Remarks, who was beaten three quarters of a length for second by Going to Vegas, never got by her on the gallop out.
A 4-year-old California-bred filly by Vronsky out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks, a Cal-bred stakes winner at age three, is three-times grades stakes placed on turf and will hope to be flying late under regular rider Joe Bravo. A first condition allowance winner at a mile and one eighth on turf here two starts back on Jan. 17, Closing Remarks is 13-3-4-2 with earnings of $371,320.
Most recently fifth at 5-2 in the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes on dirt at Oaklawn Park Feb. 12, trainer Michael McCarthy’s Queen Goddess was a gate to wire winner at 14-1 of the Grade I American Oaks on dirt two starts here on Dec. 26. A winner of two of her five starts on grass, this 4-year-old Empire Maker filly figures to be in close attendance Saturday with Victor Espinoza up for the first time.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and TOLO Thoroughbreds, Inc., Queen Goddess is 7-3-1-1 overall with earnings of $310,580.
THE GRADE III SANTA ANA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 4 p.m.
- Disappearing Act–Christopher Emigh–120
- Charges Dropped–Mario Gutierrez–120
- Quiet Secretary–Tyler Baze–120
- Closing Remarks–Joe Bravo–120
- Keyflower–Abel Cedillo–122
- Queen Goddess–Victor Espinoza–124
- Neige Blanche–Juan Hernandez–124
- Going to Vegas–Umberto Rispoli–124
- Carpe Vinum–Ryan Curatalo–120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.
Santa Anita Park Press Release
Photo: Benoit Photo