ARCADIA, Calif.—Urban steps up from a maiden allowance win to an ultra-contentious Grade III stakes in Saturday’s Sweet Life for three-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, but Simon Callaghan is optimistic that conditions suit the daughter of Quality Road.
“I’m sure it’s going to be tough, but this is a perfect distance for her, she is training really well and I’m looking forward to it,” said Callaghan, who trains the bay filly for Antony Beck’s Gainesway Stable, LNJ Foxwoods and NK Racing.
“We’ve always felt she’s a turf filly, the way she’s built, and like I said, this is a good distance for her.”
Gainesway is deeply rooted in racing history.
The picturesque working farm encompasses 1,500 of prime real estate in Lexington, Ky., where the former Greentree Stud and Whitney Farm, legendary breeding operations whose decades of prominence once flourished, ensuring their bloodstock’s continued influence on the modern Thoroughbred.
Alex Solis Jr., son of Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis, is Gainesway’s Director of Bloodstock and Racing.
Santa Anita’s runaway leading rider Flavien Prat, who has ridden Urban in two of her five races, rallying three-deep in her maiden win, is back aboard for the Sweet Life.
Urban worked four furlongs Friday in a bullet 48.60 on Santa Anita’s training track.
D’Amato optimistic about Sweet Life fillies
Phil D’Amato, Santa Anita’s second-leading trainer with 15 victories, five behind leader Bob Baffert, has two fillies entered in Saturday’s Sweet Life Stakes, English-bred Kitty Kitana and Irish-bred Impeachd Alexander.
Each has had one start in the United States, both eventful outings at Santa Anita. Kitty Kitana checked early before making a four-wide rally finishing second going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course on Jan. 8, while Impeachd Alexander broke slowly and was bumped finishing fourth by two lengths at six furlongs on turf Jan. 16.
Impeachd Alexandra and Kitty Kitana worked five furlongs Wednesday on the dirt training track in 1:01.20 and 1:03.40, respectively.
“I think they’re both primed and ready to go,” said D’Amato, not speaking in a visceral sense. “Each filly is having her second out in this country with nice spacing (between their previous starts, which came in September of 2021 in Ireland).
“I’m looking for them to take a step forward from their previous races. Both are training very well.”
Kitty Kitana is a maiden, having finished second in her only two starts, while Impeachd Alexander’s lone victory came in Ireland last June.
The Sweet Life, the ninth of nine races with a 12:30 p.m. first post time.
1. Ellamira, Tyler Baze, 15-1
2. Ouraika, Juan Hernandez, 4-1
3. Got a Gal, Umberto Rispoli, 7-2
4. Half Past Twelve, Kyle Frey, 15-1
5. Dolly May, Ryan Curatolo, 8-1
6. Baby Steps, Mike Smith, 20-1
7. Kitty Kitana, John Velazquez, 4-1
8. Impeachd Alexander, Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-1
9. Urban, Flavien Prat, 5-2
10. She’s So Shiny, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1
Stable Notes by Ed Golden
Photo: Urban (Benoit Photos)