(Beautiful Gift / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
Separated by a head when last they met on March 7, Bob Baffert’s Beautiful Gift and Michael McCarthy’s Moraz will square off again as they head a field of five sophomore fillies in Saturday’s G2, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks at a mile and one sixteenth.
In addition to first prize of $240,000, the Santa Anita Oaks winner will receive 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points, with 40, 20 and 10 points to the next three finishers. The Grade I Kentucky Oaks will be run on Friday, April 30 at Churchill Downs.
Owned and bred in Kentucky by Baoma Corporation, Beautiful Gift broke her maiden two starts back on Oct. 23 at a flat mile and then rallied to nail Moraz on the money in the Grade III Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles here on March 7.
Ridden for the first time by John Velazquez, Beautiful Gift, a bay filly by Medaglia d’Oro out of the A.P. Indy mare Sea Gift, was off at 3-1 and overcame significant trouble at the top of the stretch but surged late to get the win in an impressive effort.
While Moraz and Umberto Rispoli were able get first run, Velazquez had to wait for room and with a sixteenth of a mile to run, Beautiful Gift was somehow able to overcome a 2 ½ length deficit.
“She was full of run and I was trying to keep her from getting dirt in her face but when Rispoli pushed Joel (Rosario, aboard Kalypso) in, I had to take a hold of her,” said Velazquez. “But she was able to overcome it…By the time I got her to the outside, I got her rolling and I was hoping she would get there before the wire and she did.”
With two wins from three starts, Beautiful Gift has shown marked improvement for Baffert in her three prior starts and looms the horse to beat.
Owned and bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation, Moraz has been ridden in all four of her starts by Rispoli. By Empire Maker out of the A.P. Indy mare Malvinia, Moraz has routed in all of her races and she’ll be making her fourth start of the meet on Saturday.
An 11 length maiden winner going one mile on Jan. 8, she was then third at the same distance in the Grade III Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 6. Off at 2-1 in the Santa Ysabel, she’ll be trying a mile and one sixteenth for the second time as she tries to turn the tables on Beautiful Gift.
Trainer Eoin Harty will saddle Godolphin homebred Javanica, who comes off a solid second, beaten a neck by talented Rombauer when facing males going a mile and one eighth on synthetic Tapeta in the El Camino Real Derby Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields.
Including the El Camino Real, Javanica has now rallied from off the pace to run second in four consecutive stakes; the one mile turf Blue Norther here on Dec. 31, the Grade III Jimmy Durante at one mile on turf at Del Mar Nov. 28 and the seven furlong Glorious Song, run on Polytrack synthetic at Woodbine Oct. 17.
With a one mile maiden turf win at Arlington Park on Sept. 18 to her credit, Javanica, a bay filly by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Elusive Quality mare Shuruq, will be trying dirt for the first time in what will be her seventh career start.
With Mike Smith engaged to ride, Javanica could be a factor if she’s able to handle the main track as well as she has turf and synthetic.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Soothsay rallied from off the pace to break her maiden first time out going six furlongs on Feb. 26 and will be ridden back by Flavien Prat as she stretches out. Owned by Claiborne Farm, Perry Bass, Ramona Bass and Adele Dilschneider, Soothsay is by Distorted Humor out of the Bernardini mare Spellbound.
THE G2 SANTA ANITA OAKS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 6 of 12 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
- Moraz–Umberto Rispoli–124
- Brilliant Cut–Abel Cedillo–124
- Soothsay–Flavien Prat–124
- Javanica–Mike Smith–124
- Beautiful Gift–John Velazquez–124
Special early first post time on Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day, this Saturday, is at 12 noon. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.