Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks gets clear sailing and takes Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes by 1 ½ lengths. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.—Recently troubled but worry-free today, Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks got a perfect trip in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita and she responded with an authoritative 1 ½ length score under Joe Bravo. Trained by Carla Gaines, Closing Remarks, the lone California-bred in the field, got one mile on turf in 1:34.82.
A much troubled third at the same trip in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes here on March 4, Closing Remarks was a settled fourth early as recent allowance winner Honey Jar sped to the lead which she held to the quarter pole. On the move at that point and just two lengths off the lead, Closing Remarks wheeled four-deep into the lane and won as much best.
“She just leaves the gate so settled and relaxed,” said Bravo, who was aboard for the eighth consecutive time today. “Carla has done a great job bringing her around in each one of these races. She probably should have won her last one, but we had a troubled trip in that race and today with a clean trip, she was tons (the best).
“She dropped down (to her left lead) turning for home and she exploded. There’s nothing better than acceleration like that. A horse that loves to run, that’s her.”
Placed in four out of her last five starts, all graded stakes, Closing Remarks was the 6-5 favorite in a field of six older fillies and mares today and paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.20.
A 5-year-old mare by Vronsky out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks, a Cal-bred stakes winner at age three, got her first graded victory today in her 12th try and improved her overall race record to 18-4-5-4. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $554,820.
“It’s really great because we bred her, her dam and her granddam,” said John Harris, a major player in California racing for more than 50 years. “I don’t know if we’re lucky or smart, but we are happy with the way it’s going…These graded stakes really make the game and it’s nice to have a graded stakes win at Santa Anita. It is surreal.”
Attentive to the pace while third early, Phil D’Amato’s School Dance saved ground to the top of the lane, tipped out three-wide turning for home but couldn’t go with the winner while finishing second by a neck over Very Scary. Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, School Dance was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $3.40 and $2.80.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Very Scary tracked Honey Jar to the top of the lane and proved third best, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Honey Jar. Off at 10-1, Very Scary paid $4.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.44, 47.35, 1:11.05 and 1:23.06.