Closer to the pace with addition of blinkers and distance, Irish-bred Queen Blossom split horses a furlong from home and out-ran fellow longshot Causeforcommotion to the wire in winning Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 Santa Barbara Stakes under Flavien Prat. Trained by Richard Baltas, Queen Blossom got a mile and one half on Santa Anita's firm turf in 2:27.65.
“The pace was pretty slow,” said Prat, who rode her for the first time today. “With blinkers the first time, she was on the bit the whole way. But as soon as I asked her, she made a nice move.”
Most recently seventh in a second condition allowance going 1 1/8 miles on turf here April 7, Queen Blossom, who notched her first North American Stakes win today, was off at 9-1 in a field of six fillies and mares three and up and paid $21.60, $8.60 and $5.60.
“I thought the fractions were quick for the distance,” said Baltas, who saddled four out of the six Santa Barbara starters. “I just told Flavien to try and cover her up, because she was on the outside last time, and I told him she wants a mile and a half. That's her deal. It's just great for the owners.”
Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC and Medallion Racing, Queen Blossom, who had been based in New York prior to making her first start for Baltas three starts back on Jan. 14, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $188,734. The win, her first in 10 stateside starts, improved her overall mark to 15-3-2-1.
Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Causeforcommotion was attentive to the pace, emerged with the lead turning for home, but proved second best on the day while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Pantsonfire. Trained by Eric Kruljac and off at 8-1, Causeforcommotion paid $8.80 and $5.00.
Irish-bred Pantsonfire rallied from last under Corey Nakatani to run third, one length in front of Lucy De. Trained by Baltas, Pantsonfire was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $3.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.57, 48.92, 1:13.57, 1:38.76 and 2:03.74.
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