02/26/2011 7:53PM

Santa Anita: 'Blend' gets first jump


Credit jockey Victor Espinoza for Ultra Blend's win in Saturday's $100,000 Valentine Dancer Handicap. Or, perhaps, credit winning jockey Joel Rosario.

Rosario opted to take Ultra Blend wide on the turn, while Espinoza kept 4-5 favorite Evening Jewel behind horses, hoping for a path to emerge between the two frontrunners - Camille C and La Nez. When the gap failed to materialize, Espinoza was forced to take Evening Jewel wide. By that time, Ultra Blend had scooted 1 1-2 lengths clear, a margin that Evening Jewel could not overcome.

The winner is a genuine filly at this level, having won three stakes for statebreds last year. Evening Jewel was the 2010 California-bred Horse of the Year, and a two-time Grade 1 winner last year. She won the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January a race in which Ultra Blend was third.