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Venetian Harbor Makes Seasonal Debut in Monrovia
Venetian Harbor after winning the Las Virgenes (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Venetian Harbor Makes Seasonal Debut in Monrovia

ARCADIA, CA – A 2-time graded stakes winner who has been idle since well beaten by Eclipse Champion Gamine in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) November 7, the Richard Baltas-trained Venetian Harbor heads a field of eight fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in Saturday’s $200,000 Monrovia Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.

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A winner of Santa Anita’s Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) going a flat mile on the main track in her third start on February 8, 2020, Venetian Harbor was then second as the odds-on favorite to eventual Eclipse Champion 3-year-old Filly Swiss Skydiver in Oaklawn Park’s Fantasy Stakes (G2) May 1 and was subsequently second in both the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland July 11 and the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga August 8. 

A winner of the Raven Run Stakes (G2) 2 starts back going 7 furlongs on dirt at Keeneland October 17, Venetian Harbor was never a factor when beaten 16 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

Although she’s be trying a new game with turf on Saturday, Venetian Harbor, in her only start on grass, ran a solid second in her career debut, beaten 3/4 of a length going 5 furlongs at Del Mar on November 15, 2019.

Owned by Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Highland Yard, LLC, River Oak Farm, and Domenic Savides, Venetian Harbor, a 4-year-old filly by Munnings out of the Street Cry mare Sounds of the City, will be ridden for the first time by Mario Gutierrez.  With an overall mark of 8-3-4-0, she has earnings of $513,400.

Although she looms large on class alone, Venetian Harbor will face serious opposition as she catches a field with four last-out winners and a pair of distaffers that come off of second-place finishes in their most recent starts.

The Keith Abrahams homebred Constantia rates high on the list of recent winners, as she rallied impressively to take an ungraded sprint stakes going 6 furlongs on turf here April 17. The Baltas-trained Nasty, a gate to wire ungraded stakes winner here at a flat mile on turf back on December 26, also rates a huge chance.

Trained by John Sadler, Constantia comes off what appeared to be her best ever performance, as she split horses turning for home and rallied for an impressive 1 1/2-length win in the Mizdirection Stakes at 6 furlongs on turf April 17.  A 4-year-old filly by Munnings out of the Belong to Me mare Llandudno, Constantia, unlike Venetian Harbor, has been on turf in all 12 of her career starts, which have resulted in a 4-1-3 mark and earnings of $149,752. 

With Umberto Rispoli, who is in search of his 15 stakes win at the current meet, back aboard, Constantia will be making her first graded stakes start in the Monrovia.

Cast as the “Other Baltas,” the LNJ Foxwoods-owned Nasty has an outstanding work tab to her credit, with 3 bullet moves on Santa Anita’s training track at distances of 5 furlongs and a 1/2-mile. Idle since taking the 1-mile turf Lady of Shamrock in gate-to-wire fashion on opening day, Nasty, who sold for $230,000 as a Keeneland September Yearling, will be ridden for the first time by newly-transplanted Trevor McCarthy, who notched his first Santa Anita win at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf this past Monday.

A 4-year-old filly by Street Sense out of the Lion Heart mare Valiant Passion, Nasty, who was originally stabled with Brad Cox in the Midwest, made her first start for Baltas 3 starts back in the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) at 1 mile on turf October 17, finishing a close third behind multiple stakes winner Warren’s Showtime.

Never For Money (post 2, jockey Geovanni Franco), Gypsy Spirit (post 4, Edwin Maldonado), Trickle In (post 5, Tyler Baze), She’s So Special (post 6, Juan Hernandez), and Superstition (post 8) complete the field.

The Monrovia is carded as race 7 of 9 and has an approximate post time of 4:00 PM.

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