Candrea seeks a return to winner's circle in Santa Ynez
Sunday's 61st running of Santa Anita's Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs has attracted a diverse lineup of six three-year-old fillies ranging from Bob Baffert's Grade 1-placed Candrea to Reneesgotzip, a dazzling maiden special weight winner in her one and only start for trainer Peter Miller.
Candrea will be trying to return to her earlier form after well-beaten efforts in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess that followed a half-length loss when second in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes last October 2. The Florida-bred daughter of Trippi returns to a proven surface with regular rider Martin Garcia in the saddle in her bid for atonement on Sunday.
Reneesgotzip will be attempting to validate her front-running maiden victory at Hollywood Park on December 18. Under a hand ride by Corey Nakatani, the City Zip chestnut won by 2 1/4 lengths while covering six furlongs in 1:09. Nakatani will be back aboard as the miss leaps into the graded ranks.
After taking the November 20 Moccasin Stakes going seven furlongs on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, Made to Love Her will be in quest of her third straight victory for trainer James Kasparoff in the Santa Ynez. The Florida-bred daughter of Stevie Wonderboy captured her maiden over Santa Anita's dirt prior to that one and will keep Rafael Bejarano, aboard for her last three, in the saddle.
Rowdy Gal will seek to keep her current unbeaten mark perfect as she makes her stakes bow in this spot. After breaking her maiden by three lengths at Hollywood in November, the Pure Prize Kentucky-bred returned last month to take an allowance event by 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 2-5. Joel Rosario will handle the John Sadler trainee.
"She looks like a nice filly, won both her races," Sadler said. "She's training well so it's time to step up into a better race."
Later on Sunday's card, Vision in Gold will return to competition in the ninth running of the $75,000 Paseana Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. The Medaglia d'Oro five-year-old has been on the shelf since a half-length third in last March's Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap. Rosario will ride the Ron Ellis trainee, who captured the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes prior to her game try in the Santa Margarita.
Vision in Gold will share 121-pound highweight duties in the Paseana with Ellafitz and Briecat. The Baffert-trained Ellafitz is coming off a sharp 3 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap on December 4. The five-year-old daughter of Tiznow will have Martin Garcia aboard.
Multiple Grade 2 winner Briecat, a seven-year-old Adcat mare trained by Vladimir Cerin, will have Victor Espinoza in the saddle as she tries to make it two in a row after closing out 2011 with a nose victory in the Cool Air Stakes.
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