Santa Anita News: G3 Autumn Miss Stakes Could Be Thriller This Saturday

From the Santa Anita Media Team:

In what shapes up as perhaps the best betting race of the meeting, Hidden Message, Mucho Unusual, Giza Goddess and Solent head a deep and competitive field of 12 sophomore fillies going a flat mile on turf in Saturday’s G3, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita.

With the three out of the top four fillies having last met in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks Aug. 17, the Simon Callaghan-trained Hidden Message, who rallied to be a close second in what was her U.S. debut, may rate top billing.

HIDDEN MESSAGE

Owner:  Qatar Racing Limited
Trainer:  Simon Callaghan

A Kentucky-bred filly by Scat Daddy, she won two out her five starts in Europe prior to running second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Chad Brown’s talented repeat winner Cambier Parc in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Covered up early while mid-pack in a field of 13, she demonstrated an impressive turn of foot and appeared second best on the day.  A winner of one of three lifetime turf miles, Hidden Message, who will be ridden back by Flavien Prat, would certainly benefit from a fast pace as she cuts back in distance a furlong for what will be her second stateside start.

MUCHO UNUSUAL

Owner:  George Krikorian
Trainer:  Tim Yakteen

Attentive to the pace while third early in the Del Mar Oaks, this California-bred daughter of Mucho Macho Man came up empty late at 7-1, finishing seventh, beaten 4 ¼ lengths when ridden for the first time by Mike Smith. An impressive off the pace winner of the Grade II San Clemente Handicap at one mile on turf two starts back on July 20, she’s unbeaten in three tries at the Autumn Miss distance. With Smith apparently opting to ride Midwestern invader Solent for trainer Brad Cox, Mucho Unusual, who has proven effective on the early lead or coming from behind, will be handled for the first time by Victor Espinoza.

GIZA GODDESS

Owner:  Mercedes Stables LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, Scott Dilworth, Dorothy Ingordo, David Ingordo & Steve Moody
Trainer:  John Shirreffs

Fresh and dangerous, this Kentucky-bred filly by Cairo Prince has been idle since annexing the one mile turf Blue Norther here on Dec. 30.  A one mile turf maiden winner two starts back at Del Mar Dec. 1, she’ll be making her seventh start and will be ridden by underrated Brice Blanc for the fourth consecutive time.  A winner of two out three starts at a mile on grass, she demonstrated good tactical speed in both of her wins and will hope for a trouble-free trip while close to the pace on Saturday.

SOLENT

Owner:  Juddmonte Farms
Trainer:  Brad Cox

Originally trained by Chad Brown over the course of her first four starts on the east coast, this Juddmonte homebred daughter of Hard Spun was transferred to Cox last summer and has won both of her starts for him, at Indiana Downs on July 31 and a turf allowance at Kentucky Downs Aug. 31, in impressive fashion.  A 1 ¼ length maiden winner going 1 1/16 miles on turf two starts back, she posted a 1 ¼ length allowance win at a mile and 70 yards on turf Aug. 31 and appears to be a filly on the way up.  With Mike Smith engaged, look for Solent, who has most recently been based at Churchill Downs, to take considerable pari-mutuel action.

THE GRADE III AUTUMN MISS STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Apache Princess–Kent Desormeaux–120
  2. Alittlelesstalk–Tyler Baze–124
  3. Hidden Message–Flavien Prat–124
  4. K P Slickem–Jorge Velez–122
  5. Keeper Ofthe Stars–Abel Cedillo-122
  6. Solent–Mike Smith–122
  7. Great Sister Diane–Jeffrey Sanchez–124
  8. Holly Hundy–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–120
  9. Mucho Unusual–Victor Espinoza–124
  10. Giza Goddess–Brice Blanc–124
  11. Strike At Dawn–Drayden Van Dyke–122
  12. Free My Soul–Martin Garcia–124

First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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