ARCADIA, Calif.–Fresh off a maiden score but facing much tougher competition from her rail post position, Bob Baffert’s Under the Stars proved more than equal to multiple challenges as took pressure throughout en route to an impressive three-quarter length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Flavien Prat, the 3-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile got seven furlongs in 1:22.51.
Breaking alertly, Under the Stars sat just off of a well-meant Miss Mattie B the first quarter mile and began to assert control in the run to the far turn with longshot Big Shamrock a close third between horses.
Turning for home, Under the Stars seemed to find another gear and with Prat shaking the reins, she dispatched of Miss Mattie B and held Awake At Midnyte safe the final furlong.
“She dug in, it was nice to see her do that,” said Prat, who was aboard for a three length maiden tally at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11. “She broke well, I didn’t know really what to expect as far as speed before the race, but since she broke well, I used that to my advantage. She took the heat and dug in down the lane, so it was a good run. The (distance) was perfect for her.”
Off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of six sophomore fillies, Under the Stars paid $3.80, $2.80 and $2.20.
“She’s improving, she’s been working heads-up with that filly that won yesterday (Adare Manor, a 12 length maiden winner),” said Baffert. “When we came into this race, I was worried about the post, but she’s improving. She’s a half sister to Bodemeister, so she has the pedigree to go further and Flavien thinks she wants to go further also. It’s nice when they’re bred that well and the Coolmore gang, the ownership group, they’ve been real patient.”
Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Under the Stars, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent, Under the Stars, who has yet to run two turns, has two wins from four starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $170,520.
With the win, Prat collected his fifth stakes victory of the meet, while Baffert bagged his fourth–making both jockey and trainers the leaders in their respective stakes-winning categories through seven days of racing.
In a gutty effort, Reddam Racing’s Awake At Midnyte closed much ground through the stretch and finished 6 ½ lengths in front of Miss Mattie B. Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Awake At Midnyte was off at 9-2 and paid $4.20 and $3.60.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Miss Mattie B, who broke from the far outside, was off at 12-1 and paid $4.00 to show.
Although no Kentucky Oaks qualifying points will be awarded to the Bob Baffert-conditioned winner, four points go to the runner-up, with two to third and one point to the fourth place finisher.
Fractions on the race were 22.26, 44.95 and 1:09.61.
Racing resumes with first post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Under The Stars (Benoit Photography)