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Zenyatta Preview: Stellar Sound Stretches Back Out
Stellar Sound (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Zenyatta Preview: Stellar Sound Stretches Back Out

ARCADIA, CA – Don Alberto Stable homebred Stellar Sound stretches back out to two turns for the first time since last December when she enters the gate for Sunday’s $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

The Zenyatta is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route that serves as the penultimate event on a 10-race card with a local first post time of 1:00 PM. The race is also a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar this November.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Zenyatta:

1. Samurai Charm 10/1 – The red-hot Peter Miller trainee steps up to graded stakes company for the first time riding a spectacular 5-race win streak that culminated in the mile-long Dark Mirage Stakes routing at Los Alamitos. Her style is to go straight to the front and set an insurmountable early pace, but there are much stronger runners in here than what she’s faced, especially ones with early speed.

2. As Time Goes By 2/1 – She takes a class drop back down to Grade 2 company having won her prior 2 tries at this level, the 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita and the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria; both occurred over this course. She stumbled out of the gate and lost all chance in the Clement Hirsch Stakes (G1) prior to shipping to Saratoga and finishing sixth in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) last out.

3. Private Mission 5/2 – She steps up for her first Grade 1 attempt having won 3 of 4 career starts, including the mile-long Torrey Pine Stakes (G3) routing at Del Mar last time out. She scratched out of last weekend’s $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx – restricted to 3-year-olds – in order to stay home and face older horses like her stablemate in post 2. Leading jockey Flavien Prat retains the mount.

4. Miss Bigly 6/1 – She was a gutsy victor of August’s 1-mile Tranquility Stakes at Del Mar in her first start after a 2-month break, winning for the third time in her past 5 starts in a span that included 2 runner-up finishes in dirt route stakes. Her most effective running style when routing has been to run close to the pace. Jockey Juan Hernandez won both of his prior mounts, including the Tranquility Lake.

5. California Kook 8/1 – Though she broke her maiden in her dirt debut, 12 of her first 14 career starts came on turf, with perhaps her best result a closing second in last year’s Del Mar Oaks (G1). She won her return to dirt, a 1-mile optional claimer against California-bred males, 2 starts back before finishing second behind Samurai Charm against open company females over the same course.

6. Miss Stormy D 15/1 – She took a class drop when shipping north to Pleasanton and winning June’s 1 1/16-mile She’s a Tiger Stakes . Her best prior graded stakes finishes were finishing second in January’s La Canada Stakes (G3) and third in May’s Santa Maria, both held over this same course and distance. Returning jockey Geovanni Franco was aboard for all 3 career first-place finishes.

7. Lady Kate 8/1 – She makes her California racing debut for trainer Eddie Kenneally, who watched her post back-to-back bullet 4-furlong works including a best-of-43 move in :46.60 last Friday. She returned from over 4 months away to finish second by a neck in the 1-mile Groupie Doll Stakes at Ellis Park, a race she won last year en route to finishing second in the La Troienne Stakes (G1) next.

8. Stellar Sound 5/1 – The consistent filly has hit the board in 7 of 8 starts while winning 3, though her resume is missing a stakes score. She won her 2021 debut, a 6-furlong Del Mar sprint against optional claimers, then finished third in the 6 1/2-furlong Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) last time out. She should appreciate stretching back out to two turns, a 16% winning move for trainer Michael McCarthy.

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