ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 24, 2012)—Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, shapes up as one of the best betting races of the meet as an evenly matched field of 11 have signed up for Santa Anita’s weekend headliner.
Reunited on Saturday with Gomez, who won with her on July 27, Customer Base figures to have plenty of pace to run at in the Autumn Miss. She would appear to be on edge, as she worked a bullet five furlongs on Oct. 14 in 59.80, the fastest of 54 drills at the distance at Betfair Hollywood Park. She has earnings of $124,808 from a record of 9-3-0-0.
A winner of the Sandy Blue at Del Mar, Lady Ten comes off a solid second in the Swingtime Stakes going one mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 6. Lady Ten has never been worse than third in 10 lifetime starts and she has solid turf credentials at the distance, with a 5-1-3-1 mark.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Mercedes Stable, the daughter of Rock Hard Ten has an abundance of speed and will be reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who was at the controls for the Sandy Blue score and who has won twice with her in three tries. Lady Ten has earnings of $186,244 from and overall record of 10-3-5-2.
With $238,040 in the bank, Debbie McAnally’s homebred Charm the Maker is the leading money-earner in the field. Second in the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes a year ago and third in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet last December, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Empire Maker broke a bit a bit slow in the 6 ½ furlong turf Unzip Me Stakes Sept. 29 and rallied resolutely to finish second, beaten a half-length by the highly regarded Byrama.
Trained and co-bred by Debbie McAnally’s Hall of Fame husband, Ron, Charm the Maker can sit close or come from off the pace. She brings a record of 8-2-2-1 into the Autumn Miss.
Third in the Grade I, 1 ¼ mile turf American Oaks on July 14, California-bred Best Present Ever comes of a second-place finish in the Cal Cup Distaff, run at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course on Oct. 13. A winner of the one mile turf Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on June 2, Best Present Ever has been out of the money just once in seven lifetime tries on turf.
Owned and bred by Dennis and Norine Grenier, the daughter of Unusual Heat is conditioned by Eric Kruljac. Blessed with good tactical speed, she’ll be ridden for the first time by leading man Joe Talamo. She has earnings of $205,800 from an overall mark of 9-3-2-2.
Vionnet, who had been idle since running second in the one mile turf China Doll Stakes on March 10, came back running on Oct. 11, winning a first condition allowance over the course and distance on Oct. 11. Owned and bred in Kentucky by Ran Jan Stable, the daughter of Street Sense is trained by Mike Puype and will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Mike Smith. Her record of 6-2-2-0 has produced earnings of $96,890.
Southern Equine Stable and Smith’s Open Water could also figure prominently in Saturday’s Autumn Miss. Third in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes March 3, second in the Grade II, one mile turf San Clemente Handicap on July 22, and third in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18, Open Water looked a danger in her most recent start, the Grade I Garden City Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 15 at Belmont Park.
Although she found a seam turning for home, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Include flattened out to finish fifth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths. Trained by Eric Guillot, Open Water should appreciate the cutback in distance and has $138,500 in earnings from a record of 10-2-1-3.
The complete field for the Autumn Miss Stakes, which will be run as the eighth on a nine-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Vionnet, Mike Smith, 117; Viva Carina (ARG) Edwin Maldonado, 117; Charm the Maker, Brice Blanc, 117; Curvy Cat, Tyler Baze, 117; Jolly Days, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 117; Lady Ten, Rafael Bejarano, 117; Perfecta, Corey Nakatani, 117; Double Ante, Victor Espinoza, 117; Best Present Ever, Joe Talamo, 117; Open Water, Martin Garcia, 117, and Customer Base, Garrett Gomez, 117.
First post time at Santa Anita on Saturday is 1 p.m.