ARCADIA, Calif. –A two-time stakes winner at the current meet, Irish-bred Lucky Girl heads Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Providencia Stakes at a mile and one eighth on the Santa Anita turf. For sophomore fillies, the Providencia has attracted a field of six.
Trained by Richard Baltas, Lucky Girl won the one mile turf Lady of Shamrock Stakes as a maiden on Jan. 30 and came back to earn a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 84 in taking the one mile turf China Doll Stakes on March 6.
With regular rider Joe Bravo in the irons, Lucky Girl, who is owned by Panic Stable, LLC, looms the horse to beat as she stretches out off of five consecutive one mile turf starts dating back to her U.S. debut here on Oct. 9.
Winless in her lone Irish start, Lucky Girl has two wins and a third from six starts and earnings of $113,663.
A California-bred daughter of Square Eddie owned and bred by Reddam Racing, LLC, Eleuthera benefitted from a perfect stalking trip under Mario Gutierrez and held a late charging Rhea Moon at bay by 1 ¼ lengths in a solid one mile turf maiden win here on March 7.
With the Providencia serving as Eleuthera’s fourth start of the meet dating back to a narrow second versus Cal-bred maiden fillies here on Dec. 27, she’s got plenty of foundation in what will be her third start versus open company and her first at a mile and one eighth.
Out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Atlantic Swing, Eleuthera is 5-1-2-0 with earnings of $89,680.
Baltas will also be well represented by another Irish-bred in Sterling Crest, who has run five consecutive races at one mile on turf will be stretching out an extra furlong for the first time. A maiden winner two starts back here on Feb. 12, Sterling Crest stalked the early pace and ended up third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Lucky Girl in the China Doll Stakes on March 6.
Raced exclusively in Southern California, Sterling Crest, who is owned by Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran, is 6-1-2-2 with earnings of $100,240.
The third Baltas entrant is Kentucky-bred Gold Dragon Queen. Fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths by stablemate Lucky Girl in the China Doll Stakes, she was third two starts back going one mile in the Lady of Shamrock on Jan. 30 and was a one mile maiden winner over a sloppy main track three starts back on Dec. 27.
With a solid 80 Beyer Speed Figure in hand from her fifth place run in the China Doll, this chestnut filly by Goldencents out of the Strodes Creek mare Water Park appears to be a solid fit in the Providencia. Owned by Moon S. Han, Gold Dragon Queen is 6-1-0-1 with earnings of $56,961.
A winner of Santa Anita’s one mile turf Surfer Girl Stakes in her second career start on Oct. 3, the Bob Hess, Jr.-trained Cairo Memories, a close second two starts back in the Grade I Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos Dec. 4, was away slowly and was done early when distanced in the Grade III Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles on dirt March 6.
With a return to turf, her connections will hope that Cairo Memories, a Kentucky-bred filly by Cairo Prince out of the Indian Charlie mare Incarnate Memories, will bounce back with a much improved effort for owners David Bernsen, LLC and Schroeder Farms, LLC. With an overall mark of 5-2-1-0, she has earnings of $232,500.
THE GRADE III PROVIDENCIA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 5 of 12 Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT
Sterling Crest–Umberto Rispoli–120
Cairo Memories–Mike Smith–124
Lucky Girl–Joe Bravo–124
Gold Dragon Queen–Jose Valdivia, Jr.–120
Sixteen Arches–Juan Hernandez–120
Special early first post time for a 12-race card on Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day this Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.