Cherie Devaux, assistant to Chad Brown, kisses Lady Eli after her Flower Bowl victory
Chad Brown’s superstar Lady Eli towers over five rivals in Saturday’s Grade I, $ 300,000 Gamely Stakes, for fillies and mares three and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf.Based in New York, Lady Eli comes off a troubled second place finish at Keeneland in the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf April 15.With a sparkling resume that will undoubtedly lead to Hall of Fame induction, she’s never been worse than second in 10 career starts.
Irish-bred Goodyearforroses, a winner of three out of her four starts for trainer Richard Baltas and Richard Mandella’s classy Avenge, idle since running third here in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Nov. 5, would appear to be Lady Eli’s primary competition.
LADY ELI: Second, beaten a nose as the 8-5 favorite two starts back in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Nov. 5, she’ll be making her third career start at Santa Anita on Saturday.Blessed with a tremendous turn of foot and unquestioned stamina, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Divine Park is less than a length away from being undefeated.Owned by Sheep Pond Partners, she’s been ridden in all 10 of her starts by Irad Ortiz, Jr. With seven wins from 10 starts, Lady Eli has earnings of $ 2,239,800.
GOODYEARFORROSES: Grade III stakes-placed in her final start at Woodbine Nov. 5, she’s been nothing short of brilliant in four starts for Baltas, her most recent a fast finishing fifth place performance in the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, where she was beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Lady Eli.Ridden by Corey Nakatani in her last four races, she counts the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Santa Ana Stakes on March 12 among her three local wins.A 5-year-old Irish-bred mare, she figures to get a stalking trip in the Gamely as she makes her case to be counted among America’s elite distaffers.Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC, she’s 16-7-0-2 overall with earnings of $ 376,495.
AVENGE: Idle since running third, beaten one length by Lady Eli, in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 5, she was a gate to wire winner of the Grade I, mile and a quarter Rodeo Drive Stakes here on Oct. 1.Blessed with an abundance of speed and tremendous ability, she’ll have to overcome a lack of recency as she takes on Lady Eli for the second time.A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by War Front, she’ll again get the services of Flavien Prat, who was aboard for her last start and guided her to three consecutive victories prior to that.Owned by Ramona Bass, LLC, she’s 13-6-0-2 with earnings of $ 651,996.
THE GRADE I, $ 300,000 GAMELY STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 5 of 9 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT
1. Avenge—Flavien Prat—124
2. September Stars—Gary Stevens—122
3. Pretty Girl—Mike Smith—122
4. Goodyearforroses—Corey Nakatani—122
5. Mokat—Rafael Bejarano—122
6. Lady Eli—Irad Ortiz, Jr.—124
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