Faiza Solid Gold in Santa Anita Oaks

April 9, 2023

Faiza stays perfect with a win in the Santa Anita Oaks (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

By Maribeth Kalinich

ARCADIA, Calif.— Michael Lund Petersen’s undefeated Faiza remained 24 karat gold winning the $400,000 G2 Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita Park with a stunning performance and ensuring her start in the G1 Kentucky Oaks May 5 at Churchill Downs. 

Faiza earned 100 points toward her Kentucky Oaks start with 40-30-20-10 awarded to second through fifth place finishers, respectively.

Under expert riding by Flavien Prat Faiza had a smooth beginning. Armando Aguilar took 90-1 Gila the lead on the rail with Clearly Unhinged and Juan Hernandez close behind on her right flank and Faiza in her shadow. 

Vengaza piloted by Hall of Famer Mike Smith on the inside in third, Tell Me Nolies with Ramon Vasquez in the irons almost even on the outside with Cliquish with Umberto Rispoli up less than a length behind almost between and Window Shopping under Hector Berrios inside with Don’t Get Pickled under Franco Geovani side-by-side a length and a half back.

Gila opened up with a six-length lead coming to a 22.49 first quarter with positions unchanged. 

The field began to string out as they headed into a 46.01 half mile with Gila far in the lead and Don’t Get Pickled trailing by almost as much.

Faiza after her win in the Oaks (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

At the 3/4 pole a new race as Clearly Unhinged takes the lead challenged by Faiza with And Tell Me Nolies followed by Vengaza and Window Shopping. At the top of the stretch rounding the turn Faiza goes on the outside of Clearly Unhinged and Faiza takes the lead with a quarter of a mile to go. With a furlong to go Faiza held a three-length lead over Clearly Unhinged. 

As Faiza pulls away And Tell Me Nolies, Window Shopping and Clearly Unhinged all vie for second place with the former taking the honors over the latter two who finished third and fourth, respectively. 

As that was sorted out with a fabulous turn-of-foot Faiza zoomed to the finish to win by 6-1/2 lengths giving trainer Bob Baffert his third Santa Anita Oaks win. 

Vengaza, Don’t Get Pickled, Cliquish and Gila complete the order of finish. Princess Betina was scratched.

D. Wayne Lukas holds the record for most Santa Anita Oaks wins at eight with Blush With Pride [1982], Althea, [1984], Winning Colors [1988], Imaginary Lady [1989], Hail Atlantis [1990], Serena’s Song [1995], Sharp Cat [1997] and Surfside [2000].

The 1-1/16 miles were completed in 1:43.27. The current track record is 1:39.18 held by Efervescente (ARG) since January 6, 1993) 

Faiza paid $3.60 for the wn, 2.40 for place and 2.10 for show. And Tell Me Nolies paid $4.00 for place and 2.80 while Window Shopping rewarded $3.20 for show.

By Girvin out of Smart Strike Mae Sweet Pistol, Faiza was bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones. The 3-year-old bay filly was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton 2022 Midlantic 2YOs in training sale for $725,000. 

Faiza is a perfect five wins in five starts with $642,000 in earnings.

Grade II, $400,000, Santa Anita Oaks Quotes

Jockey Quotes
Flavien Prat, Faiza, Winner: “She keeps improving race after race. Baffert and I felt she was going to have a good run today, and she absolutely did! She jumped well out of the gate and got into a good position, and from there got the job done.”

Trainer Quotes
Bob Baffert, Faiza, Winner:
“She was really feeling it today. I could tell, she’s been really quiet and today she was on her toes. She was coming into the race perfectly. The track today is fast, and they are just bouncing over it. I worked her on this kind of track, and it was probably one of her best works ever. She’s getting better and better and improving. Prat has always told me she does just enough to get by, I told him she would do more today. I’ve never seen her so sharp. Michael Lund has been a great supporter of mine. We had Gamine and he’s gotten spoiled now with Faiza. It’s good to have her in the mix.” 

Owner Quotes
Michael Lund Petersen, Faiza, Winner: “I’m very excited. Five out of five that’s more than you ever dream about. It’s very nice being on day like this and winning a race. It makes it all worth it. There’s a reason why I have my horses with him (Bob Baffert) he is the best horse trainer in the world.”

@PastTheWirs bingo!!! 9/2 easy winner!!!

Rick St.Pierre @rstp354 View testimonials