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ARCADIA, CA – Idle since December 5, LNJ Foxwoods’ classy Astute came back running on Saturday at Santa Anita, as she easily defeated her well-fancied stablemate Missy P. by 2 1/4 lengths in the $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes.
Trained by Richard Mandella and ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, Astute, a 3-year-old filly by 2004 Eclipse Champion Sprinter Speightstown, got 7 furlongs in 1:22.94.
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Breaking sharply from her number three post position, Astute was in complete control throughout, as Missy P. sat second to her outside, loomed ominously at the top of the lane, but was simply second best on the day.
“She showed what a good filly she is,” said Mandella, who had sent her out to consecutive wins in her first 2 starts before a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos December 5. “At Los Alamitos, she came out of the race with a sore foot, actually had a hard time cooling it out, it was so sore. So, we took time to grow her feet out and she’s paying us back.
“She’s going to be a good filly. I don’t have any doubts that she’ll go further.”
Overlayed in a field of four sophomore fillies at 5/2, Astute returned $7.80 and $2.20 with no show wagering.
“She was a little nervous in the paddock, but she warmed up nice going to the gate,” said Hernandez. “She broke really well and I let her go just to see what was going on and she took the lead really soon. She was comfortable after that. Around the 1/4 pole, I made her change leads and then when I asked her, she responded right away. She’s a nice filly, she kicked really well in the last part.”
A winner of the ungraded Desi Arnaz Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs two starts back, Astute, who is out of the Langfuhr mare Discerning, is now unbeaten in three sprints, with the mile and 1/16 Starlet the only defeat on her 4-race resume. With the Angels Flight winner’s share of $46,920, Astue now has earnings of $159,920.
A 9 1/2 length first-out maiden winner going 5 1/2 furlongs here on March 12, Missy P. was heavily favored at 1/5 with Tyler Baze and paid $2.10 to place.
Heels Up, last early, loomed up at the rail heading to the 1/4 pole but lacked the necessary kick through the drive while finishing third, 2 1/4 lengths better than Stella Noir.
Fractions on the race were 22.51, 45.74 and 1:10.16.
In a roughly-run race, jockey Juan Hernandez orchestrated a picture-perfect trip for comebacking Madone as she saved ground throughout and unleashed an impressive turn of foot to take Saturday’s $100,000 Senorita Stakes (G3) by 1 length at Santa Anita.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc. and trained by Simon Callaghan, Madone got a flat mile on turf in 1:35.17.
With favored Closing Remarks shuffled to the rear of an 11-horse field after clipping heels shortly after the start, longshots Stressed and Nimbostratus slugged it out on the front end, with Nimbostratus fairly running off with Heriberto Figueroa leaving the 1/2-mile pole.
All the while, Hernandez had Madone, idle since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) November 6 at Keeneland, under a snug hold at the rail while a joint third around the first turn with Sensible Cat.
Heading to the far turn, Hernandez was patient, and when Nimbostratus drifted out turning for home, he shot the gap between her and Stressed, and Madone responded with a solid late kick that kept both the original second-place finisher Golden and Closing Remarks at bay late.
“I was telling Simon that this filly came to runtoday because she broke really sharp out of the gate,” said Hernandez, who collected his second stakes win on the day. “She actually put herself in a really good position, behind the speed, and then I was saving ground.
“Around the 1/4 pole, I was loaded. I had a (lot of) horse and I was just waiting for some space to open and come through. I found a spot and then I asked her, she kicked really well… She is a nice filly.”
Unbeaten in 3 starts at 1 mile on turf, 2 of them in ungraded stakes, Madone tasted defeat for the first time when eighth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths at Keeneland. Ridden for the first time today by Hernandez, she was off as the 5/2 second choice among 11 sophomore fillies and paid $7.80, $4.00 and $3.20.
“We thought she was ready although, you never quite know,” said Callaghan. “It’s just easier to get them ready to run on turf than it is on dirt. So we were confident her fitness level was where it needed to be and Juan gave a perfect ride. She broke well, put herself in a good position, and she had a good turn of foot when it was needed, that was fun.”
A Kentucky-bred filly by the Medaglia d’Oro stallion Vancouver, Madone is out of the Cherokee Run mare Indian Love Call. In notching her first graded stakes win, Madone is now 4 for 5, and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $211,300.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Golden was full of run while in behind horses at the top of the lane and finished very well to be second, a 1/2-length in front of Closing Remarks, but Golden was disqualified for taking the path of the original sixth-place finisher, Javanica, 1/16 of a mile out and was placed sixth.
An unlucky Closing Remarks, who rallied six-wide under Victor Espinoza turning for home, was moved up to second and paid $3.00 and $2.80 while off as the 9/5 favorite.
Wide throughout, Sweetest Angel, originally fourth, was moved up to third and paid $5.80 to show while off at 11/1 with Edwin Maldonado.
Fractions on the race were 23.85, 47.05, 1:10.88 and 1:23.08.
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