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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Santa Teresita tries dirt again in Sixty Sails Handicap

Stickney, IL—California invader Santa Teresita has made quite the living winning multiple races on the west coast, earning $453,430 in the process. Included in her four lifetime wins is a Grade 1 triumph in the Santa Maria Handicap, and three other victories on either synthetics or turf. When she’s not winning, she’s been sharp in defeat, too; in her last start she was a clear second to Life is Sweet in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap. But what about her record on dirt? Good question and one that may be answered on Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course.

In Santa Teresita’s lone attempt on traditional dirt in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, she was a distant seventh, beaten 26 ¼-lenghts by Hysterical Lady. And while there are no apparent Hysterical Lady-types in this field, and her trip in the Delaware Handicap was far from clean, it would still seem reasonable—for now—to question her abilities over a track void of grass or manufactured products.

Trained by Eric Guillot and ridden by young jockey sensation, Joe Talamo, Santa Teresita has been made the 7-5 morning line favorite, and carries high weight of 122 pounds.

Five others will line up for the 1 1/8-miles test for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up, including a few local contenders. They include Apple Martini, a full sister to Illinois Derby runner up Giant Oak, and Kathleens Reel, a recent winner of an overnight stake, who was also third in this race last year.

Swift Temper might be the main danger to the favorite as she is already a graded winner on dirt, by virtue of her upset score in the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park. She enters this race fresh off a solid placing in the Grade 3 Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream Park. She is trained by Dale Romans and will be ridden by Chris Emigh.

The Sixty Sails Handicap will go as the 7th race of a ten-race program and will kick off the late Pick Four.

The field in post position order, including jockey, weight and morning line odds:

1. Santa Teresita, Talamo, 122, (7-5); 2. Apple Martini, Perez, 112, (8-1); 3. Swift Temper, Emigh, 116, (4-1); 4. Quick Notice, B. Meier, 109, (6-1); 5. Kathleens Reel, Karlsson, 116, (5-1); 6. Mizzcan’tbewrong, Thornton, 112, (6-1)

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