ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 27, 2015)—English-bred Gender Agenda sat close to the pace and saved ground throughout en route to winning Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, she broke from post positon 10 among a field of 12 fillies and mares three and up and shadowed favored Glory and Mike Smith until well inside the sixteenth pole, when she took charge in the final 50 yards, holding off the late charge of runner-up Stormy Lucy by a neck while getting a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:50.29.
“I was afraid we were going to be too close to the lead, but when I saw the slow pace (24.16, 49.17, 1:14.35, 1:38.64), I knew we were okay,” said Bejarano, who got his second of what would be three wins on the day. “Out of the gate, I let the favorite go and tried to force her to the lead. I just put us second and followed them.
Fifth behind Stormy Lucy in the Grade I Matriarch at Del Mar on Nov. 29, Gender Agenda was off at odds of 10-1 and paid $23.80, $10.40 and $6.80. Owned by Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool, Alon Ossip and Timothy Ritvo, the 4-year-old filly by Holy Roman Emperor improved her overall mark to 18-5-3-3. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $287,108.
“This filly’s been unlucky,” said Brackpool. “She’s had full fields in almost everything she’s gone up against. I’m thinking, ‘When are we going to get a decent shot?’ He (Rafael Bejarano) rode her beautifully today. She rated beautifully and she’s a nice filly.”
Stormy Lucy, who won the Matriarch with Kent Desormeaux up at odds of 65-1, validated that effort by running a huge second from off the pace, finishing a nose in front of pace setting Glory.
“I got out too late,” said Desormeaux. “She was best today…”
The second choice at 4-1, Stormy Lucy paid $5.80 and $4.20.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Glory seemingly had conditions to order, as she made an easy lead and set what appeared to be moderate fractions.
“She ran great,” said Smith. “If the grass was a little firmer, maybe she would’ve hung on, but she ran great.”
Off at 5-2, she paid $3.80 to show.
There were no winning tickets in Sunday’s Pick Six, resulting in a carryover into Wednesday of $76,480. Wednesday’s total Pick Six pool should approach $500,000. First post time for an eight-race card is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.
JOCKEY PRAT WINS FIRST RACE ON COMEBACK SINCE BEING INJURED SEPT. 17 AS HE TAKES $75,000 BLUE NORTHER WITH BELVOIR BAY; MILLER TRAINEE GETS MILE ON TURF IN 1:36.15
Sidelined due to multiple spinal fractures and a collapsed lung sustained in a spill at Los Alamitos on Sept. 17, jockey Flavien Prat returned to action on Saturday at Santa Anita and the native-Frenchman registered his first win on the comeback trail in Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes, as he guided the Peter Miller-trained Belvoir Bay to an emphatic 7 ¼ length win while covering one mile on grass in 1:36.15.
Breaking from post position three in a field of nine 2-year-old fillies, English-bred Belvoir Bay sat a close second behind eventual third-place finisher Sweet Queen for the first half mile and then assumed command, opening up by six lengths as the field straightened for home.
Off at 5-1, Belvoir Bay, who is owned by Team Valor International and Gary Barber, paid $12.20, $5.00 and $4.00.
“It’s a good sensation,” said Prat, who was accompanied by his team of physical therapists in the Winner’s Circle. “My body healing is a gift.”
A well beaten ninth in her U.S. debut going a mile on soft turf at Belmont Park Oct. 31, Belvoir Bay notched her third win from seven overall starts. With the Blue Norther winner’s share of $46,620, she increased her overall earnings to $88,831.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, 7-5 favorite Family Meeting paid $3.20 and $2.60, while pacesetting Sweet Queen, with Alex Solis up, paid $5.00 to show.
Santa Anita will embark upon a special five-day holiday week of live racing on Wednesday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
RAFAEL BEJARANO, GENDER AGENDA, WINNER: “I was afraid we were going to be too close to the lead but when I saw the slow pace I knew we were OK. Out of the gate, I let the favorite (Glory) go and tried to force her to the lead; I just put us second and followed them.
“After that, it wasn’t going to be my fault because I knew we were getting a perfect trip in that spot. She was so relaxed and she got a perfect trip.
“I think she wants to go a mile, or a mile and a sixteenth. I think this distance worked so well because of the slow pace. Last time, she was caught down by the rail and struggled a bit but today she was able to get out and had a beautiful trip.”
KENT DESORMEAUX, STORMY LUCY, SECOND: “I got out too late. She was the best today . . . ”
MIKE SMITH, GLORY, THIRD: “She ran great. If the grass was a little firmer, maybe she would’ve hung on, but she ran great.”
CARLA GAINES, GENDER AGENDA, WINNER: “We were trying to decide to run in this race or the
6 ½ down the hill (Monrovia on Jan. 3). She’s a very good miler and we decided to attempt to get her to stretch out that extra eighth (of a mile), and it worked.”
KEITH BRACKPOOL, PART OWNER, GENDER AGENDA: “This filly’s been unlucky. She’s had full fields in almost everything she’s gone up against. I’m thinking, ‘When are we going to get a decent shot?’ He (Rafael Bejarano) rode her beautifully today, she rated beautifully, and she’s a nice filly.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Keith Brackpool, Alon Ossip and Tim Ritvo.
Source: Santa Anita Park