Santa Anita Horses To Watch Jan 14

LAVENDER (January 10): Four year old filly for Matt Chew, who hadn’t started in 15 months, made her U.S. debut in Friday’s opener, a sprint dash on the lawn at five and a half for older runners, which were maidens. Off at 5/2 in a field of six, she broke well under Valdivia and laid 4th down the back side about four lengths off the pace. She left the rail at the top of the stretch and angled out in the middle of the course, then showed a quick turn of foot late and won going away by two at the wire. It was a strong ride by the rider who was winning his first race since he returned to this circuit, having been gone at least 10 years. Lavender ran second twice in large fields at 7/8 in Ireland, so there is no reason she can’t get at least a mile over here. Chew has himself a good one. Up the ladder. BELLA VITA (January 10): Three year old filly for Simon Callaghan made her debut in Friday’s finale, a sprint on the lawn at five and a half for maiden special weight Cal bred fillies. Bet down to 2/1 from a M/L of 7/2, she missed the start entirely and was dead last out of the gate. Van Dyke then rushed her up to get back in the race and she was just 3 lengths off the pace at the 3/8 pole. She swung to the outside turning for home, put in a good run at the 1/8th pole, then got nailed very late right on the wire to lose by a lip. She ran the final ¼ in a respectable 23.55 and this daughter of Bayern looks like she will be better around two turns. Callaghan has lots of options with this one and she’s a soon winner for a barn that has a lot of high class runners. Be ready.
JOLIE OLIMPICA (January 11): Four year old filly for Richard Mandella made her first start in this country and first since last June, in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas stakes at five and a half on the turf for older runners. Undefeated in 3 starts down in Brazil, she went off as the 6 to 5 choice in a field of five, broke running under Mike Smith, and was second down the back side two off the leader. She caught the leader at the top of the lane, all under a hand ride, and easily won late by a length and a half. It’s not that she won, it was how easy she won. She also broke the track record for the distance in a fast 1:01 flat. As good as she was, she will get better with more furlongs. The sky’s the limit for this hall of Fame trainer.
MOSIENKO (January 11): Three year old filly for Bob Hess Jr. tried a starter allowance win for non winners twice at a mile on the turf in Saturday’s fifth. Off at 4/1 in a full field, she lagged in third down the back side about 4 lengths off the pace. Cedillo kept her on the fence turning for home, found a seam on the rail at the 1/8 pole, then got bogged down late and couldn’t finish. She finished fifth beaten four at the wire. The footing was really poor down on the fence today on the turf, as this runner was loaded at the top of the lane. She’s good enough to win this starter condition and she will offer some wagering value in her next start off this finish. Tab and follow.
SMILING ANNIE (January 12): Five year old mare for Mark Glatt tried the first allowance condition for Cal breds on Sunday at five and a half on the turf for older runners. Off at 5/2 under Rosario, she got a Tyler Baze ride in this race and wound up fifth and was quite possibly the best in this race. She broke running and settled in fifth down the back side, five lengths off the pace. She was loaded turning for home and Rosario had a chance to take her wide and get a clear trip. Instead he dove to the rail at the 1/8 pole, tried to fight through an opening that was never there, almost went down when he clipped heals with the horse in front of him, and finally wrapped up on the mare. This was a dangerous move by an experienced rider and he almost cost Maldonado a trip to the turf as well. If Rosario goes wide at the top of the lane, he wins the race, period. “Annie” will get another shot at this condition and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a rider change. Rosario will get “days” for this adventure.
By Rod Young (Turfdom)