Closing Remarks Rates Big Look In Wide-open G2 Royal Heroine

March 29, 2023

Closing Remarks takes an allowance optional claimer Jan. 17 (Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.— With standout distaffer Quattroelle absent, Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks rates a huge chance from off the pace in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita. For older fillies and mares at one mile on turf, the Royal Heroine attracted a field of six—four of which exit the Grade II Buena Vista which was won by Quattroelle at a mile on grass here March 4.

A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Vronsky, Closing Remarks was full of run at the rail in the run up the backside March 4, but had to steady and lose all position three furlongs out when pacesetter Kitty Kitana stopped suddenly.

Although she was shuffled back at a critical point of call, Closing Remarks, under regular pilot Joe Bravo, was able to gather herself, swing wide and mount an impressive rally, finishing third, beaten 1 ½ lengths.

Trained by Carla Gaines, Closing Remarks was third, beaten one length by Quattroelle two starts back going a mile on turf in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes Feb. 4 and checked in second three starts back going a mile and one eighth on turf in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Dec. 31.

Out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks will thus be making her fourth start of the Classic Meet. A winner of the California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf here at age three, Closing Remarks has been a gem of consistency for her connections, placing in seven graded stakes while compiling a race record of 17-3-5-4, good for earnings of $434,820.

With Bravo back aboard on Saturday, Closing Remarks will hope to notch her first-ever graded stakes victory.

With talented Japanese jockey Kazushi Kimura riding for the first time, the Bo Hirsch’s homebred Honey Jar is a lightly raced 5-year-old mare who appears very much on the improve for trainer Michael McCarthy. Off as the 8-5 favorite in a first condition allowance down the hillside turf on March 4, Honey Jar, ridden by John Velazquez, was an impressive one length victress at about 6 ½ furlongs and she galloped out far in front of the field.

A Kentucky-bred by the Lion Heart stallion Kantharos, Honey Jar, in her lone try at one mile on turf two starts back on Jan. 28, opened up by near-double digits a half mile out and tired to finish second by a length. Back at one mile on Saturday, Honey Jar could prove an elusive front-running target.

Fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Quattroelle in the Buena Vista March 4, the Phil D’Amato-trained School Dance had no apparent excuses at 5-1. Fifth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths as the 2-1 favorite two starts back in the Megahertz by Quattroelle, she finished roughly 1 ½ lengths behind Closing Remarks, who checked in third.

A close second three starts back versus sophomore fillies going a mile and one quarter on turf in the Grade I American Oaks Dec. 26, School Dance, a 4-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom, is owned by Agave Racing Stable and Rockin Robin Racing Stables and will be ridden for the sixth consecutive time by Ramon Vazquez.

A considerable question mark in Saturday’s Royal Heroine is the 4-year-old Irish-bred Seisai, who will make her U.S debut for Will Farish and John Sadler. Although she was winless in her last 10 Irish starts, she’s been facing stiff competition, as seven of them were Group races. With an overall Irish-based race record of 14-2-2-4, Seisai was favored on two occasions. She’ll be ridden on Saturday by Umberto Rispoli.

Claimed out of a maiden $20,000 heat seven starts back at Del Mar on Sept. 2, the Ian Kruljac-trained Very Scary is very much on the improve and could present early pace trouble for Honey Jar. A maiden $30,000 winner going 7 ½ furlongs on turf three starts back at Turf Paradise Dec. 19, Very Scary followed that up with a solid gate to wire win in a first condition allowance going one mile on turf here Feb. 4 and she then daylighted three allowance rivals by 13 lengths over a main track listed as good going a mile and one eighth here on March 11.

With Kent Desormeaux back aboard, this 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Connect seeks her fourth win in a row in what will be her first stakes assignment. Owned by Walter Luedtke, Robert Oracheff and R.S. Oracheff, Very Scary is 14-3-4-2 overall with earnings of $143,090.


Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

School Dance—Ramon Vazquez—120
Honey Jar—Kazushi Kimura—120
Closing Remarks—Joe Bravo—120
Nadette—Lanfranco Dettori—120
Very Scary—Kent Desormeaux -120
Seisai—Umberto Rispoli—120
First post time for a nine-race card Saturday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.

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