LIGHTLY RACED SPANISH QUEEN MARCHES TO IMPRESSIVE 1 ½ LENGTH WIN IN GRADE II, $200,000 HONEYMOON STAKES; CALIFORNIA-BRED FILLY BY TRIBAL RULE GETS 1 1/8 MILES ON GRASS IN 1:47.24
TRAINER BALTAS INDICATES CAL-BRED FILLY WILL BE POINTED TO GRADE I AMERICAN OAKS MAY 30 ARCADIA, Calif. (May 3, 2015)–Lightly raced Spanish Queen attended the pace, saved ground and accelerated through an opening two paths off the rail turning for home to register an impressive 1 ½ length win under Brice Blanc in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, covering 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.24.Trained by Richard Baltas, the California-bred daughter of Tribal Rule came off a close second at the distance in the Grade III Providencia Stakes April 4 and got her first stakes win Sunday and her second win from just three starts.“She has a helluva turn of foot,” said Baltas. “Brice made a good move there at the top of the lane. I thought he was going to go around, which probably wouldn’t have mattered, but he did make a helluva move there splitting horses…If she comes out of the race good and she really wants to go, then maybe we go in the American Oaks (Grade I, 1 ¼ miles on turf May 30).”The second wagering choice in a field of nine, Spanish Queen, who is out of the Unusual Heat mare Spanish Bunny, paid $8.00, $4.60 and $3.80. Owned by her breeders, Jack Nakkashian, Harry Bederian and Harout Kamberian, she picked up $120,000 for the win, boosting her earnings to $183,600.“She’s done everything well and she even seemed like she was a step better than her last race,” said Blanc. “Ninety percent of the horses wouldn’t have gone through that hole, but she didn’t chicken out on me. She’s got a big heart and I was able to maneuver her…She’s professional, she loves racing, even when she started working. She’s getting better and better.”A three-time minor stakes winner, longshot Sharla Rae sat mid-pack to the far turn under Drayden Van Dyke and mounted a sustained rally through the drive to overtake pacesetter Spirit of Xian a sixteenth out, finishing second by 2 ¾ lengths. The longest shot in the field at 48-1, Sharla Rae paid $31.00 and $16.00.Ridden by Joe Talamo, Spirit of Xian broke from the eight post and easily cleared the field going into the far turn and continued to show the way until overtaken by the winner a furlong out. Off at 7-2, Spirit of Xian paid $3.80 to show.Fractions on the race were 23.07, 46.81, 1:10.80 and 1:35.48.Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.