ARCADIA, Calif.— In what certainly appears to be the best betting race of the day, California-bred Connie Swingle could rate top billing as she tries to remain unbeaten down Santa Anita’s unique 6 ½ furlong downhill turf course in Saturday’s $85,000 Unzip Me Stakes. With 11 three-year-old fillies engaged, the Unzip Me, which has been carded as race nine on a 10-race program, appears to be a wide-open affair.
Owned and bred by Nick Alexander, Connie Swingle pressed the pace and went on to an authoritative half-length allowance win going five furlongs on turf at Del Mar Sept. 2 and has trained well into the Unzip Me.
By Grazen out of the Sky Mesa mare Sky Marni, Connie Swingle has been a gem of consistency on both turf and dirt, never finishing off the board in eight starts while posting a race record of 5-2-1. A winner of consecutive hillside turf allowances here on May 7 and June 11, Connie Swingle, who will be ridden by regular rider Kyle Frey, seeks her second stakes win and her first in open company.
Talented Irish-bred Delmona returns to Santa Anita following two solid efforts in turf sprints on the east coast. Second in a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint at Monmouth July 16, Delmona then finished third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in another ungraded stakes at the same distance at Saratoga on Aug. 11.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, Delmona ran a big second in her U.S. debut, a hillside turf allowance here on Feb. 25 and was a gutty neck winner at the same allowance condition down the hill next out on March 26.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal, Delmona, who was trained by James Begg in her two eastern starts, will be making her sixth stateside start of the year and be reunited with turf ace Umberto Rispoli, who rode in her two hillside tries earlier this year.
With plenty of speed signed on, D’Amato’s Irish-bred Island of Love will try the hill for the first time as she cuts back in distance out of eight routes and could be well positioned to make a late move under Joe Bravo, who climbs aboard for the first time.
Owned by R Unicorn Stable, Island of Love, who is 8-3-2-1, took the Grade III Senorita Stakes at a flat mile on turf four starts back and will thus be seeking her second Southern California stakes win.
The biggest question mark in Saturday’s Unzip Me is Bob Baffert’s Grade I stakes-winning Grace Adler, who will try turf for the first time in what will be her seventh start.
A winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante in her second start over a year ago, Grace Adler has been winless in four starts since and will be making her third start of the year Saturday. Most recently third going one mile on dirt in the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 4, Grace Adler will be ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez.
A $700,000 yearling purchase, Grace Adler, who is by Curlin and is out of the Newfoundland mare Our Khrysty, is owned by Willow Grace Farm and Michael Lund Petersen.
The George Papaprodromou-trained Brandon’smylawer, a winner of her lone hillside start three races back on May 29, comes off a sizzling gate to wire win going five furlongs on turf in a second condition allowance at Del Mar Aug. 19. Drawn on the rail, she figures to ensure a fast pace with Mario Gutierrez back aboard.
Owned by Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Brandon’smylawer, who will be making her sixth start, has three wins from four tries on turf.
THE $85,000 UNZIP ME STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 10 – Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
- Brandon’smylawyer—Mario Gutierrez—122
- Delmona—Umberto Rispoli—122
- Lexington Humor—Drayden Van Dyke—120
- Countess Rosina—Ryan Curatolo—120
- Connie Swingle—Kyle Frey—124
- Pammy’s Ready—Ramon Vazquez—120
- Grace Adler—Juan Hernandez—124
- Tezzaray—Hector Berrios—124
- Island of Love—Joe Bravo—124
- Briefcase Girl—Mike Smith—120
- Gem Mine—Jose Valdivia, Jr.—120
First post time for a 10-race card that will include five other stakes, is at 12:30 p.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Connie Swingle wins an allowance optional claiming at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)
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