Ruis Racing’s Union Strike and jockey Martin Garcia, draw away from heavy favorite American Cleopatra, to win the Grade I $ 300,000 Del Mar Debutante
Originally entered to run in Saturday’s Grade III Providencia Stakes on turf, the Mick Ruis-owned and trained Union Strike heads a field of seven sophomore fillies in Sunday’s $ 75,000 Santa Paula Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs.
Idle since running an even fifth in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10, Union Strike will be taking on several promising fillies, including Keith Abraham’s homebred Selcourt, who comes off a smashing 9 ¼ length first-out maiden win and retains the services of Tyler Baze.
UNION STRIKE: A winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante going seven furlongs in her second start on Sept. 3, this daughter of Union Rags then split a 12-horse field in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 5, and has thus lost her last two races at 1 1/16 miles.With a return to a sprint distance and time off, she looms strictly the horse to beat as she’ll be ridden for the first time by Brice Blanc.
SELCOURT: Trained by John Sadler, she was bet down to 4-5 in her six furlong debut on Feb. 12 and responded with a resounding win after pressing a torrid early pace that included an opening quarter mile of 21.20.A Kentucky-bred daughter of Tiz Wonderful, she earned a Santa Paula-best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 85.
AUNTJENN: Third in the Grade II Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar four starts back on Aug. 6, this Kentucky-bred filly by Uncle Mo has been idle since hooking into equine buzzsaw Abel Tasman on Nov. 18 in a seven furlong allowance.Head and head early, she ended up fourth, beaten 8 ¼ lengths.Trained by Peter MIller, she’ll break from the rail, which produced her lone win, a six furlong triumph five starts back on July 23.Owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash, she’ll be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano.
THE $ 75,000 SANTA PAULA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 10 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
1. Auntjenn—Rafael Bejarano—120
2. Mistressofthenight—Corey Nakatani—120
3. Union Strike—Brice Blanc—124
4. Selcourt—Tyler Baze—120
5. Charlatana—Martin Garcia—120
6. Life’s Blessings—Flavien Prat—120
7. Chalon—Norberto Arroyo, Jr.—120
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