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ARCADIA, CA – Gary Barber’s Laura’s Light waited patiently in a stalking position before pouncing in the stretch and holding sway late to win Saturday’s $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking well from post 2 under Abel Cedillo as 2/1 co-second choice on the tote, Laura’s Light seemed keen on fighting Parkour for the early lead, but Cedillo tapped the brakes and calmed her back into a stalking position. Unpressured from anyone else, Parkour took off to a lengthy lead that saw her as much as 10 lengths clear of Laura’s Light in second.
With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons, Parkour set opening fractions of :23.26, :46.98, and 1:11.66, but her lengthy lead began vanishing as she completed the far turn. Though she turned for home still in front, Parkour was soon swallowed up by a surging Laura’s Light, who got first jump and had a good advantage at the 1/16 pole.
The 9/5 favorite Stela Star split foes impressively to rally within a neck of Laura’s Light, but that was as close as she got to the winner. The Peter Miller trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route in a final time of 1:49.02.
“My instructions were to have her break well, and Peter told me that if Mike Smith decides to take the lead, let him take the lead and try to relax,” Cedillo said. “That worked! I broke sharp and I saw Mike (breaking from) the outside, so I just let him go. I knew they were going pretty fast, but I just sat and gave her time to relax.”
Stela Star’s game effort between rivals came up just short, as she was a neck between Laura’s Light and the similarly-rallying Croughavouke. Further back came Red Lark, while behind her came Guitty, K P Dreamin, Parkour, and Fashion Royalty to complete the order of finish.
Little Bird was scratched.
Laura’s Light’s win was her second at the graded stakes level, following the 5 1/2-furlong Sweet Life Stakes (G3) here on February 16. The 3-year-old Constitution filly improved her record to 6-4-1-0 with $214,370 earned.
“She’s a gutty little filly and I can’t say enough about the ride Abel gave her,” said Miller. “It was a world-class ride. Great judge of pace and knowing when to push the button. That was Abel today. I’m happy for Mr. Barber, this has been a very difficult period for all of us and it’s great to be back racing.”
Laura’s Light returned $6.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.80 to show. Stela Star brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Croughavouke paid $4 to show.
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