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ARCADIA, CA – Coolmore’s As Time Goes By raced as a 3/5 favorite in a five-horse field should, romping to victory as easy as she pleased in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
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As Time Goes By broke from post 2 under Mike Smith as the heavy favorite and set the early pace, posting fractions of :23.17, :46.98, and 1:11.36 as the 2/1 favorite Harvest Moon gave close watch.
As Time Goes By began pulling away in the far turn and straightened for home with a growing advantage that she held while toying with her rivals in the stretch.
The Bob Baffert trainee crossed 9 1/4 lengths much the best, completing the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:49.95.
“Today, she actually jumped really quick out of there and she fell right into stride so nice, and I just stayed out of her way,” Smith said. “The whole experience for her today was really, really nice. I mean she warmed up really brilliant, acted really good in the gate, stood really well. That was really impressive today, she did that well, well in hand, and galloped out nice and now Bob can point her just about anywhere he wants to.”
This Tea, at 31/1 the longest shot on the board, crossed 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Harvest Moon, who faded to third after attending the early pace.
Pharoah’s Heart and Clockstrikestwelve completed the order of finish.
As Time Goes By’s win was her first at the stakes level and in her second try following her runner-up effort in last month’s Beholder Mile Stakes (G1). The 4-year-old American Pharoah filly’s record now stands at 6-3-2-1 with $260,600 earned.
“Mike is so great with these good mares and he just gets the most out of her,” Baffert said. “I was debating on running her next week in Kentucky or here, but because I want to develop her slowly and the Breeders’ Cup is the main goal, we chose to stay. She’s gonna get better with age. She’s so sweet, like her sire. She’s the sweetest thing in the barn. I have a soft spot for her because I think of American Pharoah every time I walk by her stall.”
As Time Goes By returned $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. This Tea brought back $10.40 to place and $9.40 to show. Harvest Moon paid $2.20 to show.
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