Highly accomplished Abel Tasman and It Tiz Well, along with upstart Paradise Woods head Saturday’s Grade I, $ 400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, which has a attracted a field of seven 3-year-old fillies at a mile and one sixteenth.
To be run for the 78th time, the Santa Anita Oaks, which was run as the Santa Susana through 1985, will offer 170 qualifying points to the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, to be run on May 5. Saturday’s winner will be rewarded with 100 points, with 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 points to the fourth place finisher.
ABEL TASMAN: Second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by superstar Unique Bella in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Santa Ysabel on March 4, this Quality Road filly earned a career-best 94 Beyer Speed figure in what was unquestionably her best career race. Despite her good showing, Abel Tasman was transferred from Simon Callaghan to Bob Baffert shortly after the Santa Ysabel. A winner of the Grade I Starlet two starts back at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10, she appears to be a complete standout with Unique Bella sidelined due to injury. Owned by China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms, Abel Tasman is 5-3-1-0, with earnings of $ 267,860. Ridden in all of her previous starts by Joe Talamo, she’ll get the services of Mike Smith on Saturday.
IT TIZ WELL: A romping 3 3/4 lengths allowance winner going seven furlongs two starts back here on Feb. 3, she shipped to Oaklawn Park on March 11 and responded with a solid one length win in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Honeybee Stakes—her first try around two turns. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, this Kentucky-bred daughter of Arch appears to be on the improve as she seeks her third win in a row and her fourth from six overall starts. She has earnings of $ 226,840.
PARADISE WOODS: Lightly raced and trained by Richard Mandella, she looms a very dangerous commodity as she’ll stretch out for the first time in her third career start. An emphatic 4 ¼ length maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs at odds of 4-5 on March 11, she’ll again be ridden by leading man Flavien Prat. A daughter of Union Rags bred in Kentucky by Herman Sarkowsky, she’s owned by Steven Sarkowsky and Pam and Martin Wygod.
THE GRADE I, $ 400,000 SANTA ANITA OAKS IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 6 of 11 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
1. Mopotism—Mario Gutierrez—121
2. It Tiz Well—Corey Nakatani—121
3. Paradise Woods—Flavien Prat—121
4. Abel Tasman—Mike Smith—124
5. Bernina Star—Santiago Gonzalez—121
6. Majestic Quality—Kent Desormeaux—121
7. Princess Karen—Gary Stevens—121
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