ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Simon Callaghan’s Harvest Moon continued her ascent as a shining star while winning Sunday’s $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
The Zenyatta is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Harvest Moon receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Keeneland this November.
Harvest Moon broke well from post 3 under Flavien Prat as the 7/2 third choice in the four-horse field and entered the clubhouse turn just a length off of early leader Fighting Mad.
Sent from the rail as the 2/5 favorite, Fighting Mad posted opening fractions of :23.37 and :46.51, but Harvest Moon ranged up heading into the far turn and presented her challenge.
Sweeping to the lead at the 1/4 pole, Harvest Moon straightened for home on top and held onto her advantage through to the wire, crossing 3/4 of a length clear while completing the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:43.03.
“We thought Fighting Mad would go to the lead and we wanted to keep pressure on her,” Prat said. “My filly had never been a mile and 1/16… It turned out this was a good distance for my filly and she really ran well.”
Hard Not to Love came running late in the stretch and finished second, 3/4 of a length ahead of a weakened Fighting Mad. Proud Emma completed the order of finish.
Hang a Star scratched, with her connections opting to run her in Friday’s Chillingworth Stakes (G3), where she finished fourth.
Harvest Moon’s win was her third straight and improved her overall record to 4-3-0-1, a mark that includes winning the Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) last time out. The 3-year-old Uncle Mo filly has now earned $ for co-owners Alice Bamford (who also bred her) and Michael Tabor.
“I’m absolutely thrilled today, completely over the moon for Harvest Moon!” Bamford said. “She’s a homebred and she’s just so deep in my heart and my family’s heart. It was so good to see her so well ridden today, showing off her beautiful stride. She came and did it against a very very good competitor in Fighting Mad. We’re thrilled that we won, and we are in (the Breeders’ Cup)!”
Harvest Moon returned $9.80 to win and $5.60 to place, while Hard Not to Love paid $5.60 to place. There was no show betting.