ARCADIA, Calif.–With a recent stakes win over the course, the Richard Mandella-trained Sumter looms a standout in Saturday’s $100,000 Singletary Stakes, as a field of five sophomores go one mile over the Santa Anita turf.
Owned by Perry and Ramona Bass and bred in Kentucky by their Bass Stables, LLC, Sumter made short work of 10 rivals in winning the one mile turf Pasadena Stakes in gate to wire fashion here on Feb. 19 as the 8-5 favorite. A five furlong turf maiden winner two starts back at Del Mar on Nov. 14, Sumter, who has been ridden in his last two starts by Flavien Prat, will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith.
A colt by War Front, out of the More Than Ready mare A Little Bit Sassy, Sumter will be trying two turns in what will be his sixth career start. With two wins and as many seconds, he has earnings of $129,600.
A fast finishing second, beaten three quarters of a length by Sumter in the Pasadena, trainer Ruben Alvarado’s Handy Dandy has rock-solid credentials at the trip, having rallied to win a first condition allowance at one mile on turf two starts back on Jan. 23 and by virtue of his close third place finish in the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes on Jan. 2.
A one mile maiden turf winner four starts back on Nov. 28 at Del Mar, Handy Dandy will be ridden for the first time by upstart Ryan Curatolo. Owned by Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman and Michael Nentwig, Handy Dandy is 6-2-1-1 overall with earnings of $100,600.
Idle since well beaten in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 11, the Doug O’Neill-trained Durante was a gate to wire one mile maiden winner two starts back on Nov. 14 and will be trying turf for the first time on Saturday.
Owned by Roadrunner Racing and William Strauss, Durante, a colt by Distorted Humor out of the Pioneerof the Nile mare Seahawk Girl, will be ridden for the first time by top apprentice Diego Herrera.
Phil D’Amato will be well represented by a pair of Irish-breds, Balnikhov and Almanera. Owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC and Old Bones Racing, LLC, Balnikhov, who was raced exclusively in France through eights starts as a juvenile, will be making his U.S. debut and looms a very interesting commodity with Juan Hernandez up.
Idle since a handy 2 ½ length winner going a mile and one eighth on synthetic on Dec. 22, Balnikhov won three of his last four starts in France and has five recorded drills on Santa Anita’s inner training track. Successful in large fields, he defeated 10 rivals in winning at one mile over a soft turf on Nov. 9 and he vanquished 12 runners in a 1 3/16 mile synthetic win two starts back on Dec. 7.
Sixth in his U.S. debut going about 6 ½ furlongs in a downhill turf allowance Feb. 26, Almanera raced greenly and appeared capable of much better. A half length maiden winner versus 13 rivals going seven furlongs on synthetic in his final Irish start Dec. 17, look for marked improvement with Abel Cedillo taking over for the first time.
Owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Almanera has a win and a third place finish from four starts.
THE $100,000 SINGLETARY STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 3 of 9 Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT
- Almanera–Abel Cedillo–120
- Handy Dandy–Ryan Curatolo–120
- Durante–Diego Herrera–120
- Balnikhov–Juan Hernandez–122
- Sumter–Mike Smith–124
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Sumter (Benoit Photo)