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Santa Anita Park Picks | Santa Barbara Stakes 2024
Santa Anita Park (Zoe Metz Photography)

Santa Anita Park Picks | Santa Barbara Stakes 2024

Out of the shadow of streaking Linda’s Gift, Musical Rhapsody could be poised for a stakes breakthrough in Saturday’s $100,000 Santa Barbara Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 ½ miles on the Santa Anita Park turf.

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Trained by Phil D’Amato, Musical Rhapsody had finished behind Linda’s Gift in three-straight turf stakes at extended distances, which includes two runner-up finishes. But most recently on April 4, she dropped into a 1 ¼-mile first-level allowance on turf and scored comfortably by 1 ½ lengths.

Musical Rhapsody previously finished fifth in the 1 ½-mile GIII Santa Ana Feb. 24, which was won by Linda’s Gift, and was second behind Linda’s Gift in both the 1 ½-mile Astra here Jan. 21 and GIII Red Carpet at 1 3/8-miles Nov. 34 at Del Mar.

Mike Smith rode Musical Rhapsody in all four previous starts and the Hall of Famer retains the mount Saturday.

As for Linda’s Gift, trainer Richard Mandella last week said she is waiting for the GI Gamely at 1 1/8 miles on Memorial Day May 27 at Santa Anita.

In Ireland, Musical Rhapsody won three of 10 starts before arriving stateside last year in late spring. Michael House owns the 5-year-old mare by Holy Roman Emperor. Musical Rhapsody is 16: 4-2-0 with $106.097 in earnings.

Duvet Day, trained by Michael McCarthy, was beaten just a neck in last year’s Santa Barbara. She missed the final six-plus months of last season before returning in the Astra, where she was third beaten four lengths by Linda’s Gift. It was a solid enough comeback effort Duvet Day, but in the Santa Ana she showed little when finishing seventh.

Duvet Day was ridden by Kazushi Kimura in the Astra and Santa Ana, but will be reunited with Juan Hernandez in this spot. Among other previous rides, Hernandez Duvet Day is a 5-year-old Ireland-bred mare by Starspangledbanner. She has a record of 18: 3-4-3, which includes two starts in Ireland, and earnings of $228,813. Duvet Day is owned by Cedros, Jane Bacharach and Richard Schatz.

Vincero Grande may have found her niche at longer distances on the turf. In the 1 ¼-mile allowance won by Musical Rhapsody April 4, Vincero Grande was beaten 1 ¼ lengths when second. She also was second by a length under the same conditions Jan. 21.

Trained by Mike Puype, Vincero Grande is 17: 7-1-1 with $141,886 in earnings. The 5-year-old mare by Mr. Big is owned by SLO Racing Stable. Jockey Diego Herrera remains aboard Vincero Grande.

Comanche Country was a supplemental entry for D’Amato. A Grade III winner as a 2-year-old in 2022, she will be stretching out in distance in a big way in her second start off the layoff. Following 8 ½ months on the sidelines, Duvet Day returned April 6 sprinting about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside turf course in the GIII Monrovia Stakes. She was never a factor and finished last.

Bred in Ireland, Comanche Country is a 4-year-old filly by Highland Reel. She is 11: 3-2-0 with $267,787 in earnings. Kyle Frey will ride Comanche Country, who is owned by Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables LLC and Marsha Naify.


Race 9 of 9 | Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT

  1. Illhaveanotherkiss—Edwin Maldonado—120
  2. Vincero Grande—Diego Herrera—120
  3. Comanche Country—Kyle Frey—124
  4. Milagre Do Sol—Antonio Fresu—120
  5. Customer List—Drayden Van Dyke—120
  6. Duvet Day—Juan Hernandez—124
  7. Musical Rhapsody—Mike Smith—122