ARCADIA, Calif. —A pair of Irish-breds, Lucky Girl and Island of Love, will renew acquaintances as they head a field of eight sophomore fillies going one mile on turf in Sunday’s $100,000 China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita.
A maiden who was dismissed at 6-1, the Richard Baltas-trained Lucky Girl rallied to make the lead turning for home in the one mile turf Lady of Shamrock Stakes Jan. 30 and registered an emphatic 1 ¾ length win over heavily favored Island of Love, who had made an eye catching move around the far turn but was no match for the winner when it counted.
Owned by Panic Stable, LLC and ridden by Joe Bravo, Lucky Girl looked every bit the part in winning on Jan. 30, but will be seeking further validation versus her well fancied counterpart on Sunday. Third in her lone Irish start, a seven furlong turf maiden affair versus 13 other juvenile fillies July 24, Lucky Girl will be making her sixth overall start on Sunday.
Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Phil D’Amato, Island of Love, who was unbeaten in a pair of Italian starts this past September, was off at 4-5 in the Lady of Shamrock and will hope to run to her notices in what will be her fourth career start. Owned by R Unicorn Stable, Island of Love retains the services of Prat, the meet’s runaway leading rider.
A maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs out of Santa Anita’s turf chute two starts back on Jan. 8, Simon Callaghan’s Urban was most recently second, beaten a head in the Grade III Sweet Life Stakes here on Feb. 12 and has a win, two seconds and as many thirds from six starts. Owned by Gainesway Stable, LNJ Foxwoods and NK Racing, Urban will be ridden for the first time by John Velazquez, as Prat has opted to stay with Island of Love.
Well-seasoned, the Rockingham Ranch homebred Pammy’s Ready comes off a gate to wire maiden win going one mile on turf Jan. 29, prevailing by a neck under Abel Cedillo, who rides her back on Sunday. By More Than Ready and out of the War Front mare Pammy Whammy, Pammy’s Ready has a win, two seconds and as many thirds from seven starts.
Trained by Ruben Alvarado, she made her first four starts in Kentucky and New York for Wesley Ward while earning a total of $100,852.
THE $100,000 CHINA DOLL STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
1 Pammy’s Ready—Abel Cedillo—120
2 Gold Dragon—Juan Hernandez—120
3 Sterling Crest—Umberto Rispoli—120
4 An Agent Mistake—Mario Gutierrez—120
5 Urban—John Velazquez—120
6 Island of Love—Flavien Prat—120
7 Virulente—Mike Smith—120
8 Lucky Girl—Joe Bravo—124
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Lucky Girl wins the Lady of Shamrock/Benoit Photo