(Fun to Dream / Benoit Photo & Courtesy of Santa Anita)
A California bred daughter of 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, Bob Baffert’s Fun to Dream, in her first graded stakes assignment, demonstrated her immense talent on Monday at Santa Anita, as she rallied to take the Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes under Juan Hernandez, giving Baffert his fourth overall win on the day and a homebred victory in North America’s final Grade I test for 3-year-old fillies. Out of the Maria’s Mon mare Lutess, Fun to Dream got seven furlongs in 1:21.99 and provided both Hernandez (who notched his third overall win) and Baffert with two stakes wins each on the day with a pair of Grade I events, the Runhappy Malibu and the American Oaks remaining on the opening day card.
Breaking sharply from her number five post position, Fun to Dream was just a half length off dueling leaders Ganadora and Ain’t Easy three furlongs from home. With stablemate Ganadora dropping back at the rail leaving the quarter pole, Fun to Dream loomed three-deep turning for home, opened up about two lengths leaving the eighth pole and was fully extended to prevail late over a hard-trying Awake At Midnyte.
Bred and owned in California by Bob Baffert and Connie Pageler, Fun to Dream, who came off a head victory in the statebred Betty Grable Stakes going the same distance at Del Mar Nov. 13, had won two races in a row coming into the La Brea and was off as the second choice at 5-2 in a field of six and paid $7.40, $4.00 and $3.40.
With the La Brea winner’s share of $180,000, Fun to Dream increased her earnings to $426,590 as she secured her fifth win from six career starts.
Ridden patiently by Mario Gutierrez, Awake At Midnyte, fourth at the half mile, leveled late in a big effort to finish second, 3 ¼ lengths in front of longshot Kirtenbosch. Off at 7-1, Awake At Midnyte paid $6.60 and $4.40.
Ridden by 2019 Eclipse Champion Apprentice Kazushi Kamura, Kirstenbosch was the biggest price in the field at 31-1 and returned $9.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.05, 44.80 and 1:09.27.
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