Heavily favored As Time Goes By all-out to win by a nose in the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes, getting 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.77

May 22, 2021

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 22, 2021)–A runaway 9 ¼ length winner of her most recent Grade II stakes assignment, As Time Goes By was all-out to prevail by a nose over 23-1 longshot This Tea in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita.  Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, As Time Goes By stalked the early pace today and got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:43.77.

Breaking from the outside of a four-horse field of fillies and mares three and up, As Time Goes By was content to track speedster Miss Stormy D to the far turn, where she took charge by a neck at the three furlong pole.  From there, she had to work to shrug off Miss Stormy D to her inside and then faced the challenge of This Tea to her immediate outside, with well regarded Ce Ce unable to mount a challenge four-deep turning for home.

“I told Mike, we’ve been going easy on her, not too hard for this race,” said Baffert, who registered his meet-leading 14th stakes victory.  “Today, this is the first time she’s come back really blowing.  That filly that ran second, ran a big race.  “(My filly’s) heart and true grit made her hang in there.  We knew Miss Stormy D was quick, and you could tell turning for home that my filly wasn’t doing it that easily.”

When asked what might be next for As Time Goes By, Baffert responded, “Right now, with the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, we wanna keep her here and run her here in the fall.”

A scintillating gate to wire winner of the Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes going a mile and one eighth on April 24, As Time Goes By was off at 2-5 and paid $2.80 and $2.10 with no show wagering.

“They ran good, you know, my hat’s off to the filly that finished second, she ran a huge race,” said Smith.  “The Lakers don’t always blow every team out, every now and then you gotta fight it out, and that’s what she had to do today.

“She’ll get more out of this race.  After she ran the last time out, they kind of backed off her a little bit.  She’s a big mare with a big frame and she’ll tend to gain some weight and I could tell she was a little more stocked today.  She got a little tired, but she’ll get a whole lot out of that.”

Owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, As Time Goes By, a 4-year-old filly by Baffert’s 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, out of the Dehere mare Take Charge Lady, notched her second stakes win and improved her overall mark to 7-4-2-1.

With today’s winner’s share of $120,000, As Time Goes By increased her earnings to $380,600.

Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s As Time Goes By and jockey Mike Smith, inside, hold off a game challenge by This Tea (jockey Kent Desormeaux), outside, to win the Grade II $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA ©Benoit Photo

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux for trainer George Paparodromou, This Tea, who was second by 9 ¼ lengths to As Time Goes By in the Santa Margarita, came within a nose of turning the tables in a huge effort.  The longest shot in the field at 23-1, she paid $6.60 to place while finishing eight lengths clear of Miss Stormy D.

Ce Ce, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was off at 3-2 but tired badly through the lane while never threatening.

Fractions on the race were 23.83, 47.12, 1:10.95 and 1:36.98.

Santa Anita Park Press Release

Photo: As Time Goes By, (Benoit)

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