ARCADIA, Calif. – Under a picture perfect ride from Abel Cedillo, hard knocking Laura’s Light prevailed by a diminishing neck over favored Stela Star in winning Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita. Owned by Gary Barber and trained by Peter Miller, Laura’s Light got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:49.02. Fractions on the race were 23.26, 46.98, 1:11.66 and 1:36.96.
As expected, Parkour darted to the early lead, opening up by about eight lengths as the field headed up the backstretch. Around the far turn, Laura’s Light began to steadily cut into the leader’s margin, trailing by three lengths turning for home and gaining the advantage approaching the sixteenth pole while holding sway late over the fast finishing Stela Star and Croughavouke.
“She’s a gutty little filly and I can’t say enough about the ride Abel gave her,” said Miller. “It was a world class ride. Great judge of pace and knowing when to push the button, that was Abel today…I’m happy for Mr. Barber, this has been a very difficult period for all of us and it’s great to be back racing. We’ve got a lot of options with her. Del Mar’s all about turf racing for 3-year-olds and we’re looking forward to it.”
A disappointing fourth as the 4-5 favorite in a one mile ungraded stakes on synthetic Tapeta at Turfway Park March 14, Laura’s Light was off as co-second choice (along with Parkour) at 2-1 in a field of eight sophomore fillies and paid $6.60, $3.20 and $2.80.
“My instructions were to have her break well and Peter told me that if Mike Smith (aboard Parkour) decides to take the lead, let him take the lead and try to relax,” said Cedillo, who rode her to consecutive stakes wins here last winter. “That worked! I broke sharp and I saw Mike (breaking from) the outside, so I just let him go. I knew they were going pretty fast, but I just sat and gave her time to relax.”
A winner of the Grade III Sweet Life Stakes going 5 ½ furlongs on turf two starts back on Feb. 16 and of the ungraded Blue Norther at one mile on turf Dec. 29, Laura’s Light a filly by Constitution out of the Muqtarib mare Light of a Star, now has four wins from six starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, has earnings of $214,370.
A huge second going a mile on turf in her U.S. debut, the ungraded China Doll Stakes here March 7, Irish-bred Stela Star was far back while fifth after the first half mile and flew late in another big effort, finishing a neck better than fellow Irish-bred Croughavouke.
Off as the 9-5 favorite with Flavien Prat up, Stela Star paid $3.40 and $2.80.
Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Croughavouke couldn’t quite get by Stela Star late while finishing 2 ½ lengths clear of Red Lark. Off at 11-1, Croughavouke paid $4.00 to show.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Lighthouse Shines in Feature
Head and head with odds-on favorite Lofty from the opening bell, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Lighthouse edged clear late to take Friday’s $51,000 allowance feature. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, the 3-year-old Mizzen Mast filly got 5 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:02.50. Fractions on the race were 21.73, 44.23 and 56.18.
“She ran big to a really nice filly last time and Simon said she was on her toes today, ‘don’t take anything away from her,’ ” said Van Dyke, who rode Lighthouse to a second place finish behind classy Laura’s Light in the Grade III Sweet Life Stakes over the course on Feb. 16. “She actually likes being inside, so I let her bounce out of there and I knew that other filly would be right with us on the outside. She was very comfortable the whole way and she won pretty impressively.”
Off as the third choice at 5-2 in a field of four sophomore fillies, Lighthouse paid $7.80 and $2.80, with no show wagering.
Owned by LNJ Foxwoods, Lighthouse, who is out of the North Light mare More Hoping, now has two wins from five starts, all of them on turf. With the winner’s share of $30,600, she increased her earnings to $88,151.
The lone California-bred in the field, Lofty finished 4 ¼ lengths clear of Mean Sophia. Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Lofty was off at 4-5 and paid $2.20 to show.
First post time for an eight-race card, highlighted by the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes on Sunday, is at 12:30 p.m. Fans can wager via 1stBet.com or through Xpressbet.com. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Edited Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Laura’s Light. Credit: Benoit Photos