Fresh off the biggest win of her career, home bred Bo deer what what leads a field of five older fillies and fillies going through seven furlongs in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes (G2) on February 5th Santa Anita Park.
A handy 2 1/2 length winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Filly Sprint (G1) with seven panels From the sea On November 6th, Ce Ce will bid for her third consecutive Graded Stakes win in her first start at 6. Hirsch wanted Ce Ce to continue racing in 2022 because he would get more enjoyment from watching her compete than retiring the broodmare gang, according to trainer Michael McCarthy.
“He said at this point in his life he’d rather watch her race and as long as she stays healthy we’ll keep going,” McCarthy said.
Ce Ce never left McCarthy’s barn after the Breeders’ Cup. She had a light few weeks and then returned to a weekly work schedule in late November. McCarthy said the mare has held up very well since the Breeders’ Cup.
“She puts a lot into her training. She’s training well and doing well. We didn’t push her too hard but she’s fit enough to race over the weekend,” said McCarthy. He said he chose the Santa Monica because of the distance to the Breeders’ Cup. She will again be ridden by Victor Espinoza who has been on board for all but two of her career starts.
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Ce Ce returns to Santa Anita with a 5-1-1 record eight starts at the track. Her last start here was on October 3rd in the 6 1/2 Furlong Chillingsworth Stakes (G3) which produced a five-length triumph. Hirsch bred the mare from Elusive Quality in Kentucky out of Grade 1 winner Miss Houdini by Belong to Me. Ce Ce became a multiple Grade 1 winner at the age of 4 and has now won five Graded Stakes – three in Grade 1s — and has career earnings of $1,753,100.
A finalist for the Eclipse Award Championship for women sprinters as well as a multiple Class 1 winner child and Longines Test Stakes (G1) winners Beautiful Sophia McCarthy said he was “calmly confident” she’d pull through.
“She delivered and won and showed up on championship day where she beat everyone on the court,” he said. “You never know what people will think, but I think she has a hell of a chance.”
Ce Ce beat both Gamine and Bella Sofia in the Filly & Mare Sprint, with their rivals finishing third and fourth respectively. She won in a time of 1:21.
Coach Bob Baffert will be represented by last year’s Santa Monica winner Mernith and youngest winner of Class 1 Calypso .
Merneith last ran a big second place finish in the listed Kalookan Queen Stakes on January 2nd with 6 1/2 furlongs after almost a year’s absence. The 5-year-old mare by American pharaoh will be driven for the third year in a row by Edwin Maldonado, who competed in last year’s Santa Monica Score.
Merneith, owned by HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud, will start the race on January 22 in Santa Anita at 59:59 after five furlong works. Baffert has won the Santa Monica five times. Before Merneith’s win, he took that race in 2019 Marley’s freedom .
Calypso, a 4-year-old daughter of Brody’s thing , was a 4 3/4-length winner of the seven-stay La Brea Stakes (G1) on Dec. 26 but will face stiffer competition from older distantrs for the first time. Owned by Rockingham Ranch, David Bernsen, Chad Littlefield and Gainesway Stable, Kalypso has won two of their three seven-furlong starts, including last year’s Santa Ynez Stakes (G2). She has an overall record of 3-3-2 from nine starts for $480,600 in earnings and will be ridden by John Velazquez.
Hronis Racing park road who was on a two-game winning streak when a well-battered runner-up in the La Canada Stakes (G3) covered a mile and a sixteenth on Jan. 1, will cut short in her second Stakes engagement of five straight routes.
Trained by John Sadler, Park Avenue, a 4-year-old filly by quality road will be ridden by Juan Hernandez for the third time in a row.
Entries: Santa Monica S (G2)
Santa Anita Park, Saturday February 05, 2022, Race 6
- class II
- 4 years and older mares and mares
- 3:06 p.m. (local)