November 29, 2022

Selcourt wires Santa Monica, favored Paradise Woods fourth

Selcourt and jockey Tyler Baze win the Santa Monica Stakes (G2) on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Santa Anita Park © BENOIT PHOTO

Medallion Racing, Keith Abrahams and Sandra Lazaruk’s Selcourt moved her 2018 record to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday when going gate-to-wire by 4 1/2 lengths in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

Selcourt took command from the gate under regular jockey Tyler Baze, setting the pace through splits of :22.85, :45.13 and 1:08.45 running well off the inside. To her outside was 4-5 favorite Paradise Woods, and those two maintained their positions into the lane.

That’s where Paradise Woods faded while Selcourt continued motoring. The John Sadler trainee finished seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:21 to return $7.40 for the win as the 5-2 second choice.

Marley’s Freedom lost the war but won the battle with Skye Diamonds, taking second by 1 1/4 lengths. Skye Diamonds got up for third by three parts of a length over a fading Paradise Woods, while Just a Little Hope brought up the rear.

Selcourt is now 4-1-1 from six career starts and has banked $283,920 lifetime. The chestnut miss broke her maiden at first asking by 9 1/4 lengths in February 2017 at Santa Anita, then proceeded to place in the Santa Paula Stakes and Angels Flight Stakes.

The Angels Flight came last May, and Selcourt wouldn’t be seen in competition again until entered in the Kalookan Queen Stakes on January 14 in her four-year-old bow. She romped by 7 1/2 lengths that day and last out added a three-quarter length victory in the February 18 Las Flores Stakes (G3) to her resume.

Bred in Kentucky by Keith Abrahams, Selcourt is the first registered stakes winner out of the Open Forum mare Azure Spring, who is a full sister to multiple Grade 3-placed stakes hero Open Concert. This female family also boasts Grade 2 vixen Fashionably Late.

SANTA MONICA QUOTES

Tyler Baze, jockey Selcourt, winner

“This filly is scary good right now and she’s getting better and better. (Trainer) John (Sadler) said to ride her with confidence and I did. She broke really sharply and she was relaxed underneath me. Coming around the turn, when it was time to go, she took off.”

John Sadler, trainer Selcourt, winner

“She’s been great all winter, going up the ranks and stepping up to the challenge. She got some soft splits early (today), but she kicked home so well, that’s what makes it so impressive, that final time (1:21 flat) on a drying-out kind of track.

“We’ve got the (May 5) Humana Distaff (G1) maybe (next at Churchill Downs) or maybe the Beholder Mile ([G1] on June 2 at Santa Anita) at the end of the meet here, but no immediate plans. She’s had three good races already. There’s one step left which is to go for the Grade 1, so we’ll look around and see what’s available.”

Phillip Shelton, racing manager for Medallion Racing, co-owner Selcourt, winner

“I couldn’t give more credit to John (Sadler). She had a little injury, he did the right thing, gave her as much time off as she needed and she’s come back mentally and physically a completely different horse.”

Bob Hess Jr., trainer Marley’s Freedom, second

“She ran great. That was as much as we could have hoped for.”