Stay and Scam Secures Victory in Fran’s Valentine

May 25, 2024

Stay and Scam takes the Fran’s Valentine (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Stay and Scam earned her second stakes win and first around two turns in Saturday’s $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf Saturday at Santa Anita.

Parked in post 11 at the start, favorite Stay and Scam (1-2) broke alertly under Mario Gutierrez and was able to ease inward multiple paths on the short run to the first turn. Sneaker, an 11-1 shot with Kyle Frey up, would take the early lead with Stay and Scam tracking on her outside in second.

On the second turn, Stay and Scam comfortably ranged up to the leader, kicked away at the top of the stretch then held off a late challenge from 27-1 shot Moment’s Pleasure to win by a length. It was another 1 ¼ lengths back to Cornelia Fort (18-1).

“We figured we needed to use Stay and Scam coming out of the gate because we were in the 11 post,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t want to cut wide on the first turn. After that, as soon as I got my position, I decided to save as much as I could for the end.”

Stay and Scam, a 4-year-old Square Eddie filly trained by Doug O’Neill, won in a final time of 1:35.13 following solid fractions of 22.60, 46.68 and 1:10.30 for six furlongs. Two races earlier, gate-to-wire winner Kings River Knight, a 6-year-old gelding, went a mile on turf in a slower 1:35.75 after setting a more moderate pace.

“All of us in our little inner circle thought maybe only one turn was kind of where she wanted to be, but she has proven us wrong,” O’Neill said.

Stay and Scam races as a homebred for Reddam Racing. She is now 13: 6-3-2 with $382,820 in earnings. In March, Stay and Scam earned her first stakes win when taking the Irish O’Brien Stakes for statebreds sprinting on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. In two subsequent starts, both going a mile on turf, she was second in the GIII Wilshire April 4 and third as the 2-1 favorite in the GIII Royal Heroine April 27.

“They say pace makes the race on the grass,” O’Neill said. “The last time she ran (in the Royal Heroine), she got in behind horses and ended up third. Today it was a different story.”

Stay and Scam paid $3.00, $2.40 and $2.40. Moment’s Pleasure, ridden by Hector Berrios for trainer Craig Lewis, returned $13.20 and $8.20. Cornelia Fort, trained by Ian Kruljac with Tyler Baze up, paid $6.00 to show.

Great read! Thanks @jonathanstettin Feels like you’re sitting across the table breaking down the day with the expert…

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