‘The Best Filly I’ve Ever Had’: Venetian Harbor To Wait For Santa Anita Oaks

by | 02.22.2020 | 6:40pm
Venetian Harbor and jockey Flavien Prat, left, win the Grade II, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes, Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.© BENOIT PHOTO

In her first recorded work since daylighting her competition by 9 ¼ lengths in the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 8, the Richard Baltas-trained Venetian Harbor drilled a half mile in a bullet 46.20 Friday at Santa Anita under Flavien Prat.

“I was very happy to see she was so relaxed,” said Baltas, the meet's leading trainer through 28 racing days with 19 wins. “I told Flavien my only concern was to keep her relaxed, within herself. I looked at the watch and it said 46 and one. I've never had a horse do that.”

Although the Grade III Santa Ysabel, at a mile and one sixteenth, had been considered, Baltas said the 3-year-old daughter of Munnings would likely pass the race.

“I was glad to see she's in good shape this morning. We're gonna wait until the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade II, $400,000, at 1 1/16 miles April 4). I've had some good ones, but yes, she's the best filly I've ever had. I've never had a horse do what she's done and if we can keep her healthy and sound, there's no telling what we've got.”

Bred in Kentucky, Venetian Harbor, who is out of the Street Cry mare Sounds of the City, debuted at five furlongs on turf Nov. 15 at Del Mar, finishing a close second as the even money favorite. A 10 ¾ length maiden winner at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt here Dec. 29, she stretched out for the first time in the Las Virgenes and although she was a bit keen in the early stages, demolished her competition as the 1-5 favorite.

Purchased for $110,000 out of the Keeneland September 2018 Yearling Sale, Venetian Harbor, with two wins from three starts, has earnings of $163,400. The filly is owned by Domenic Savides, Ciaglia Racing, Highland Yard, and River Oak Farm.

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