June 23, 2024

Collusion Illusion tops Santa Anita Sprint; Fighting Mad leads Zenyatta

Fighting Mad
Fighting Mad wins the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) (Horsephotos.com)

Sunday’s 11-race program at Santa Anita features three stakes, and expenses-paid berths to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) will be offered in the $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) and $200,000 Zenyatta (G2).

Collusion Illusion will bring a three-race win streak to the 6-furlong Sprint, posting a nose decision most recently in the Aug. 1 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar. The 3-year-old colt sustained his lone setback when trying two turns in the American Pharoah (G1) last fall, heading the sidelines for nearly eight months, and Collusion Illusion returned to the races with easy wins in an allowance and the Laz Barrera (G3) at Santa Anita.

Mark Glatt trains the Florida-bred son of Twirling Candy, and Flavien Prat retains the assignment. Collusion Illusion will break from the rail in the five-horse field.

C Z Rocket has won four straight for Peter Miller since being claimed for $40,000 in late April, and the 6-year-old gelding registered his first graded stakes win when taking the Aug. 29 Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar. The Florida-bred loses Prat, but Luis Saez will pick up the mount.

Pat O’Brien runner-up Flagstaff is also entered. Giant Expectations has back class, winning a pair of Grade 2 events in 2017, but he will need to turn around his recent form to challenge. Grade 1-placed Desert Law completes the cast.

In the 1 1/16-mile Zenyatta, Fighting Mad will face four challengers from the innermost post. Winner of the Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita two back, the Bob Baffert-trained 4-year-old filly exits a wire-to-wire victory in the Aug. 2 Clement L. Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar as the 9-5 favorite. Saez will take over the reins on the improving daughter of New Year’s Day.

Harvest Moon steps back up to meet elders off a 1 1/4-length tally in the Aug. 22 Torrey Pines (G3) at Del Mar. The sophomore Uncle Mo filly has won three straight for Simon Callaghan, and Harvest Moon will be forwardly-placed in the short field with Prat.

Grade 2 winner Hard Not to Love must regroup from a last in the Hirsch. Proud Emma exits a dead-heat win in the restricted Tranquility Lake S. at Del Mar, and Grade 3 runner-up Hang a Star rounds out the line-up.

The $100,000 Tokyo Cup (G3) at 1 1/2 miles also will be offered, and Santa Anita H. (G1) upsetter Combatant is eligible to relish the class relief. Umberto Rispoli rides for John Sadler, and his rivals include Azul Coast, Potantico, and Tizamagician.