Rhea Moon Shines in GIII Autumn Miss Stakes

October 29, 2022

Photo by Benoit

D’Amato Gets His Third Stakes Win & Hernandez His Second On The Day

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.—Not a bad day. With seven horses entered in three separate stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, Phil D’Amato emerged with three added money victories as his Irish-bred Rhea Moon charged home to take the day’s 10thand final race, the Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths. 

With Juan Hernandez collecting his second stakes win on the day, Rhea Moon got one mile on turf in 1:34.44.

Unhurried in the run to the first turn, Rhea Moon sat seventh in a field of 11, about six lengths off longshot Lucky Girl as the field straightened for their run up the backside. With Hernandez biding his time, Rhea Moon inched into contention mid-way around the far turn, swung five-deep approaching the furlong pole and drew clear while unthreatened by an onrushing Nadette late.

“I felt the pace was a little faster but when I came back and saw the fractions it wasn’t fast at all. My filly she relaxed well and was waiting for me to ask her to go to win the race. 

“I love to ride horses, this is my job and my passion, so I’m going to keep riding all the horses I get well,” said Hernandez

 A one-mile turf allowance winner on Aug. 21, Rhea Moon, who had two wins from five stateside starts with D’Amato, was off at 6-1 and paid $14.60, $6.60 and $4.60.

“This filly really turned the corner. Juan figured her out. She was very impressive at Del Mar, and we had this race in mind after that performance. She was slowly developing. We had to space her out to recoup. The way she won today, she came with that run like she can run all day. The American Oaks might be next for her,” said D’Amato.

With his biggest win coming with Irish-bred Going Global in the Grade II Goldikova Stakes, D’Amato’s second stakes win on the day came with English-bred Amy C in the ungraded Senator Ken Maddy.

Owned by Rockingham Ranch and Talla Racing, LLC, Rhea Moon, in getting her first stakes win, picked up $60,000, increasing her earnings to $191,831. Winless in a pair of starts in Ireland, she’s now 8-3-3-2 overall.

“I like to have two horses in every race. I was rooting for Pammy’s Ready until about the quarter pole and then here comes Rhea Moon. She comes home in like .22 and change and she can fly, so I just said, ‘J.J. don’t let her stop coming down the stretch. If you have to go wide, go wide but just let her leave it all on the track.’ and he did,” said Gary Hartunian of Rockingham Ranch.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, French-bred Nadette flew from far back to finish second by three quarters of a length over D’Amato’s Kitty Kitana. Off at 5-1, Nadette paid $8.80 and $6.00.

English-bred Kitty Kitana, forwardly placed throughout, was off at 18-1 and paid $8.20 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.36, 47.36, 1:11.17 and 1:22.97.

Racing resumes with first post time for a 10-race card on the meet’s penultimate Sunday at 1 p.m. 

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