Under the Stars turned back two challenges, an early one from Miss Mattie B and a late one from Awake At Midnyte, to win Saturday’s $200,500 Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa Anita.
The 9-10 favorite in the seven-furlong test for three-year-old fillies, Under the Stars dueled with Miss Mattie B through the opening half-mile, put that rival away approaching the stretch, and then repelled an off-the-pace bid from Awake At Midnyte in the run to the wire.
The winning margin was three parts of a length for Under the Stars, who covered the course in 1:22.51 over a fast track under Flavien Prat.
“I really didn’t know what to expect as far as pace before the race,” Prat said. “She broke well, so I used that as part of my advantage. She took the heat and dug deep down the lane.”
Owned by Coolmore and trained by Bob Baffert, Under the Stars paid $3.80. Awake At Midnyte finished 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Miss Mattie B, who was followed by Big Switch, Big Shamrock, and Mimajoon.
Although the Santa Ynez was a Road to the Kentucky Oaks scoring race, the Baffert-trained Under the Stars was ineligible to earn points due to the trainer’s current suspension from racing at Churchill Downs. Awake At Midnyte earned four points toward the Oaks, Miss Mattie B two points, and Big Switch one point.
Under the Stars has now bankrolled $170,520. A close third behind Awake At Midnyte in their mutual debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 31, Under the Stars was third again, behind stablemate Eda, in the Desi Arnaz S. at Del Mar in mid-November, but graduated by three lengths at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11.
Bred in Kentucky by Eaton, Under the Stars is by Pioneerof the Nile and out of Grade 3-winning Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat. Under the Stars is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Bodemeister, runner-up in the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) for Baffert. This female family has also yielded multiple Grade 1 heroine She’s a Julie.