(Fighting Mad / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
Idle since third as the odds on favorite in the G2 Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 27, Bob Baffert’s speedy Fighting Mad heads a field of seven older fillies and mares going a mile and one sixteenth in Saturday’s G3, $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.
While Fighting Mad will hope to control the early pace, the John Shirreffs-trained Hard Not to Love, a Grade I winner who was second in the Zenyatta, figures to stalk the pace with Ricky Gonzalez aboard for the first time and could prove dangerous late.
Peter Miller’s Proud Emma, who will be ridden back by upstart Juan Hernandez, comes off a career-best victory in the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos and will hope to be rolling again from off the pace.
Baffert will also be well represented by Baoma Corporation’s Message, who comes off a solid second in the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos and will be ridden back by Flavien Prat.
Trainer Michael McCarthy’s Chilean-bred Sanenus returns to Southern California following a second place finish in the Grade III Chilukki Stakes going a one turn mile at Churchill Downs and could well make her presence felt in any early pace scenario with Umberto Rispoli engaged.
Mike Smith, who had ridden Hard Not to Love in her last seven races, will be aboard the Carla Gaines-conditioned Miss Stormy D, who could prove bothersome to Fighting Mad on the front end.
Owner: Gary & Mary West
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Off as the 2-5 favorite in the Grade II Zenyatta at 1 1/16 miles, Fighting Mad regressed off of her impressive gate to wire win in the Grade I Clement Hirsch at Del Mar on Aug. 2, tiring late to finish third, beaten 1 ½ lengths under Luis Saez. She’ll be reunited with Abel Cedillo, who guided her to gate to wire scores in both the Hirsch and the Grade II Santa Maria on May 31, and this 5-year-old homebred mare by New Year’s Day will hope to bounce back with a big effort.
HARD NOT TO LOVE
Owner: Mercedes Stables, LLC & West Point Thoroughbreds
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Sight-impaired as she lost the use of one eye in a paddock mishap as a youngster, this 5-year-old Ontario-Canadian-bred mare by Hard Spun is often a handful in the mornings and on the way to the gate on race days. Masterfully handled by Shirreffs, she’s amassed earnings of $568,980 from an overall mark of 10-5-3-1. Although well beaten by Fighting Mad in both the Santa Maria and Clement Hirsch, she turned the tables in the Zenyatta, as she rallied late to finish second, beaten three quarters of a length while besting Fighting Mad by the same margin.
Owner: Gem Inc., and Tom Kagele
Trainer: Peter Miller
Ridden for the first time Juan Hernandez, Proud Emma rallied to take the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos by a half length in her first graded stakes victory. A 5-year-old mare by Include, she’s on the improve and should have plenty of pace to run at, if good enough on Saturday.
Owner: Baoma Corporation
Trainer: Bob Baffert
A dead heat winner of the restricted Tranquility Lake at one mile two starts back on Aug. 28, she made the lead turning for home in the Bayakoa Dec. 6 and finished second, beaten a half length by Proud Emma. As the “Other Baffert,” she’ll be facing much tougher competition on Saturday, but she has recency in her corner and top jock Prat sticks with her.
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
A Group I winner in her native Chile at age three, this 5-year-old mare by Scat Daddy made her U.S. debut three starts back on Aug. 16 at Del Mar, running third in a six furlong classified allowance. Subsequently a close third in a one turn mile allowance at Churchill Downs Sept. 26, she was off at 10-1 in the Grade III Chilukki, a race in which pressed the pace, made the lead around the turn and ended up second, beaten 2 ½ lengths.
MISS STORMY D
Owner: Keith Brackpool
Trainer: Carla Gaines
A dazzling 6 ¼ lengths one mile allowance winner here on Feb. 29, a race in which she earned a lofty 94 Beyer Speed figure, Miss Stormy D resurfaced at 7-2 in the Dec. 6 Bayokoa and was done early after showing the way after the first quarter mile. Fourth, beaten nine lengths, Miss Stormy D, who will be ridden by Mike Smith for the first time, will hope to improve with a recent race under her belt.
THE GRADE III LA CANADA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 10 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Proud Emma–Juan Hernandez–122
- Hard Not to Love–Ricardo Gonzalez–120
- Fighting Mad–Abel Cedillo–124
- Message–Flavien Prat–120
- Sanenus–Umberto Rispoli–120
- Miss Stormy D–Mike Smith–120
- Never Be Enough–Tiago Pereira–120
There is an early first post time of 12 noon for a 10-race card on Saturday. All of Santa Anita’s races can be viewed free of charge at santaanita.com/live and fans can watch and wager at 1st.com/Bet. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.