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ARCADIA, CA — French-bred Neige Blanche and Juan Hernandez managed managed to get up at the wire to win the Santa Barbara Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.
“It was really close, it could probably go both ways, 50-50, inside or outside and thanks to my filly, we got it,” said Hernandez who chalked up his third win on the day and his seventh stakes win. “It was better, because last time (a fourth place finish in the Grade III Santa Ana Stakes March 27) I think we were a little too close to the pace and today, I was a little bit more (relaxed). Two horses in front of me and she relaxed pretty well. Around the quarter pole, when I asked her to go, she responded really well.
Rideforthecause, favorite Tapwater, and Go Big Blue Nation completed the order. Carpe Vinum was a scratch from the Santa Barbara.
“No, honestly, I thought the inside got it,” said Powell when asked if he thought he had won the tight photo finish, in which Neige Blanche was positioned outside the runner-up. “If we were going to be in front, it was going to have to be a lucky bob and it was a lucky bob. Today, she proved that she belongs and that she was worth the investment. I want to thank the partners, Madaket Stables, Marsha Naify and (Laura) De Seroux for trusting us with her.”
This is Neige Blanche’s 1st graded stakes win in North America. She improves her record for 11-4-0-2 and has now earned $181,844 for owners Madaket Stables LLC, De Seroux, Laura, Naify, Marsha, and Powell, Mathilde.
Neige Blanche returned $13.40 to win, $7.00 to place, and $3.60 to show.
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