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ARCADIA, Calif. (June 30, 2016)—Beaten just 1 ½ lengths when running fourth in the Group II, 1 3/16 miles UAE Derby by top male Lani on March 26, Argentine-bred Vale Dori heads a solid field of eight fillies and mares Sunday in the $75,000 Southern Truce Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Bob Baffert, she was indeed flattered when Lani went on to run third in the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 11.
The competition runs deep in the Southern Truce, as trainer Gary Mandella’s veteran 6-year-old mare, Living The Life, comes off a victory over males in the Grade III, one mile (Tapeta) All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields May 30, Richard Mandella’s Belle Hill, idle since Oct. 17, seeks her fifth consecutive win and trainer Art Sherman’s sharp recent allowance winner Show Stealer all bring strong credentials to the party at a mile and a sixteenth.
VALE DORI: A 4-year-old filly, she’ll make her U.S. debut with leading man Rafael Bejarano up and given the fact she showed ample speed routing in the UAE, it would be no surprise to see her on or near the early lead Sunday. Second, beaten three quarters of a length two starts back in the Grade III, 1 3/16 miles UAE Oaks on March 3, she has two wins and as many seconds from five starts. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Vale Dori has earnings of $199,183.
LIVING THE LIFE: Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke for the first time in the All American, this 6-year-old Irish-bred mare pressed the pace and prevailed in game fashion by a neck in garnering her third North American graded stakes win. With a lengthy graded stakes resume that includes a third place finish in Santa Anita’s Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Santa Margarita Stakes three starts back on March 19, Living The Life has recency, class and good tactical speed in her corner and will thus command plenty of respect at the betting windows. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing, LLC, she is 33-10-5-4 overall with earnings of $948,049.
BELLE HILL: Idle since winning the Grade III, one mile turf Autumn Miss Stakes when conditioned by Seattle-based Larry Ross, this 4-year-old Sky Mesa filly rattled off three consecutive stakes wins at Emerald Downs prior to trying turf for the first time in her Southern California debut. Transferred to Mandella shortly after the Autumn Miss, Belle Hill has a solid work tab (including a pair of bullets) for her return and appears armed and very dangerous with Flavien Prat committed to ride for the first time. Owned by Aithon Stable, she has five wins and a third from seven starts and has earnings of $173,220.
SHOW STEALER: George Krikorian’s homebred 4-year-old filly by Eskendereya bobbled at the break but went on to a solid come from behind head victory here in a 1 1/16 miles allowance on May 26 and will try graded stakes competition for the first time on Sunday. Trained by Art Sherman, she has two wins and a second from her last four starts dating back to Dec. 19 at Los Alamitos. With Tyler Baze engaged to ride back for the fourth consecutive time, Show Stealer could benefit from a fast early pace. She has earnings of $155,760 from an overall mark of 17-3-2-2.
Race 9 (of 9) Approximate post time 5:30 p.m. PDT
First post time on Sunday is at 1:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. For scratches, late changes and morning line information, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com.
Santa Anita Park
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