Becca Taylor looks to say unbeaten Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien; Races are part of CTBA sponsored Golden State Series for Cal-bred or sired runners
ARCADIA, Calif.—With the prospect of a sub-20 second opening quarter a possibility, Alfred Pais’ homebred Brickyard Ride heads a field of eight older California-breds going about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes.
The Sensational Star is part of the CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series, for eligible California-bred or sired runners.
Trained by Craig Lewis, Brickyard Ride comes off a pair of scintillating wins versus statebreds, a 1 ¾ length win going six furlongs in the Cal Cup Sprint Jan. 15 and most recently, a 7 ½ length score going a flat mile in the Tiznow Stakes on Feb. 21.
Although the 5-year-old son of Clubhouse Ride has two wins from four tries on turf, Brickyard Ride will be trying the hillside turf course for the first time on Sunday.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Lewis upon entering. “If somebody tries to pressure him, he might shade 20 seconds that first quarter.”
Lightning quick on any surface, Brickyard Ride was entered to defend his title in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs on March 5 but scratched on game day in favor of running in the Sensational Star.
A five-time stakes winner, Brickyard Ride, who is out of the Southern Image mare Brickyard Helen, appears to be at the top of his game and has earned solid Beyer Speed Figures in his two starts this winter, earning a 101 on Jan. 15 and a 99 Beyer on Feb. 21.
Strictly the horse to beat, he’s got an overall mark of 20-10-1-2 with earnings of $620,977.
A California-bred stakes winner down the hill five starts back on Oct. 17, 2021, trainer Ruben Alvarado’s Indian Peak was a vastly improved second to Vladimir Cerin’s red-hot Barraza over the course in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes on Feb. 20 and rates second billing with John Velazquez taking over. Owned by Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, this 5-year-old Comic Strip gelding has proven a very versatile sort and will hope to be rolling late.
Idle since a close fourth in last year’s Sensational Star when run at six furlongs out of the turf chute, Peter Eurton’s speedy Jetovator will likely try to stay close to Brickyard Ride in the early going, but that could indeed be a tough assignment. A 6-year-old gelding by Grazen out of the multiple stakes placed Jet Blue Girl, by Gimmeawink, Jetovator is owned by Ciaglia Racing, LLC and SAF Racing and was bred by Sharon Alesia and Ciaglia Racing.
With a career resume that reads 19-3-4-5, Jetovator will be making his second stakes start and be ridden by Edwin Maldonado.
Third in his only hillside try, a first condition allowance 22 starts back on Oct. 28, 2018, Harris Farms’ homebred Fashionably Fast may’ve lost a step but he’s still plenty competitive at age seven. By Lucky Pulpit out of the Forestry mare Fall Fashion, Fashionably Fast, a six-time stakes winner, comes off a third-place finish in a second condition allowance going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt Feb. 4 and will be ridden back by Abel Cedillo.
Owned by Harris Farms and Per Antonsen, Fashionably Fast will likely be in a stalking position to the dirt crossing at the top of the lane and if the speed tires, his class and heart could carry the day. The leading money earner in the field with $697,123, he has an overall mark of 28-9-6-7.
The $100,000 Sensational Star With Jockeys & Weights In Post Position Order
Race 7 of 8 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT
1. Indian Peak—John Velazquez—124
2. Brickyard Ride—Juan Hernandez—124
3. Sacred Rider—Tyler Baze—122
4. Jetovator—Edwin Maldonado—122
5. Riding With Dino—Flavien Prat—122
6. Big Fish—Mike Smith—124
7. Whooping Jay—Mario Gutierrez—122
8. Fashionably Fast—Abel Cedillo–124
Becca Taylor looks to say unbeaten Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien
Nick Alexander’s unbeaten homebred Becca Taylor heads a field of seven older fillies and mares going about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes. Trained by Steve Miyadi, Becca Taylor will be trying the hillside turf for the first time in what will be her seventh career start.
Named for the multiple stakes winning daughter of D’Artagnan, who was owned by Susan Isaacs, the Irish O’Brien is part of the CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series, for eligible California-bred or sired runners.
Fresh off a 1 ¼ length win versus statebreds going six furlongs on dirt in the Spring Fever Stakes here on Feb. 21, Becca Taylor, who is by Old Topper out Alexander’s General Meeting mare Lady Sax, has one turf race on her resume, a six furlong allowance win out of Santa Anita’s turf chute in her second start on Jan. 18, 2021.
With leading man Flavien Prat riding her back, Becca Taylor, who has banked $274,980 and has been favored in her last four starts, figures to again be the heavy chalk on Saturday.
Becca Taylor’s primary opposition would appear to be the Carla Gaines-trained Sensible Cat, who comes off a pair of solid efforts down the hill, a second-place allowance finish on Jan. 7 and a game neck victory at the same second condition allowance level on Jan. 28.
Owned by Irvin Racing Stable and bred by their C-Punch Ranch, Inc., Sensible Cat has a good measure of class, evidenced by the fact she was a California-bred stakes winner on dirt at age two and was a solid third place finisher going a mile and one eighth on turf four starts back at age three in the Grade III Providencia Stakes April 3, 2021.
With three wins from seven tries on grass, Sensible Cat, a 4-year-old filly by Bluegrass Cat out of the Street Sense mare Sensible Girl, has demonstrated an impressive turn of foot in her last two hillside starts and looms very dangerous with Juan Hernandez riding back for the third consecutive time. With an overall mark of 9-4-1-1, she has earnings of $232,220.
Slam Dunk Racing’s homebred She’s Devoted, who pressed the issue every step of the way when finishing second, beaten a nose in a one-mile turf allowance on Feb. 12, will hope to step forward off of that race with Joe Bravo riding back. An even eighth, beaten 7 ¾ lengths by runaway winner Leggs Galore in her only other hillside performance, the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint two starts back on Jan. 15, She’s Devoted should give a much better account of herself in what will be her third start of the meet.
Trained by Richard Baltas, She’s Devoted, a 5-year-old mare by Grazen out of the Broken Vow mare Devoted One, has raced exclusively on turf in all six of her starts, winning two and running second in a pair as well.
The $100,000 Irish O’Brien With Jockeys & Weights In Post Position Order
Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
1. Maybe I Will—Ricardo Gonzalez—122
2. Becca Taylor—Flavien Prat—124
3. Pulpit Rider—Tyler Baze—124
4. Sassyverb—Umberto Rispoli—122
5. Sensible Cat—Juan Hernandez—124
6. Eddie’s New Dream—Mario Gutierrez—122
7. She’s Devoted—Joe Bravo—120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo by Benoit Photos