Marley’s Freedom didn’t disappoint as the 3/5 favorite and crossed the wire 1-1/4 lengths in front of Selcourt in the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
Selcourt secured the early lead and was on cruise control and setting some decent fractions until about the 1/8 pole, when she was confronted by Marley’s Freedom and by the 1/16 pole, she ran down Selcourt and pulled away late. Selcourt held well for second after blazing the way for most of the race. Mopotism ran third.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke and trained by Bob Baffert, Marley’s Freedom returned $3.40 as the favorite and she covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.34 over a track labeled “good.” “We had a good tactical spot,” Van Dyke said. “I was just sitting on her, but I had to get after Selcourt a little early because it looked like she was running pretty easy on the lead.”
At this point. Marley’s Freedom has to be viewed as a top contender in the filly and mare sprint division. “I’m proud of her,” Baffert said. “And she always shows up.”
Marley’s Freedom, who was purchased as a yearling in 2015 for a mere $35,000, now has an 8-2-0 record from 15 starts with career earnings of $935,935.
Grade 1 winner, Paradise Woods, who made her first start for new trainer John Sherriffs, had no impact on the race and finished last of five.