01/05/2012 1:24PM

2011 Eclipse Awards: Stacelita

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Expectations were high for Stacelita upon her arrival to the United States, and she more than met them, becoming a finalist for the Eclipse Award for top female turf runner.

Stacelita began her career with six straight wins and was ranked the top 3-year-old filly in France in 2009 after winning three Group 1 races, the Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Prix Saint-Alary, and Prix Vermeille. At age 4, she garnered a fourth Group 1 tally in the Prix Jean Romanet.

After a tune-up at Longchamp in mid-June of 2011 for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, Stacelita was flown across the Atlantic Ocean to take on males in the Grade 1 United Nations. After being interfered with on the clubhouse turn, she unleashed a sustained run that carried her to the lead in midstretch, but she was overtaken late and settled for third.

[MORE: Complete list of 2011 Eclipse Awards finalists | Vote for Horse of the Year and win]

“She got a really terrible trip,” said Chad Brown, who became her trainer the next day. “She should have won the race.

“You never know when you get these European horses how they’re going to adapt to the training over here. She just picked it up since day one. She’s not difficult to train, but she will challenge you. She will be walking by, and as she passes you she will give you a little warning and then, boom, you’ll see one of her hooves fly by your head. She’s just so competitive and energetic that she’s always looking to do something. I think that’s a good quality of hers.”

Brown sent Stacelita to Arlington Park for the Grade 1 Beverly D. six weeks later and reached out for Ramon Dominguez. The Eclipse Award-winning rider of 2010, he orchestrated a masterful ground-saving trip. Stacelita shot through inside Dubawi Heights coming off the far turn to draw clear as the third Beverly D. winner for owner Martin Schwartz, who also won the summer’s most prestigious filly-and-mare turf race with Angara (2005) and Gorella (2006). “Turning for home, once I found a seam on the rail I had to go for it,” said Dominguez. “She reached for it great.”

In the Flower Bowl Invitational seven weeks later, Stacelita was a prohibitive 1-2 favorite and easily prevailed despite a wide trip and being struck in the left eye by a divot of rain-softened turf. She developed a fungus infection in the eye soon afterward and thereafter trained with a clear plastic cup as a protective measure.

Wearing the cup in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Stacelita lacked room on the inside at a crucial juncture and finished off the board as the 19-10 choice.

“Things didn’t go as planned from the Flower Bowl to the Breeders’ Cup, having to deal with that issue,” said Brown. “It probably contributed some, but . . . if we could’ve found some room at the half-mile pole, maybe it would’ve made a difference. But who knows?”

Stacelita, a daughter of Monsun and the Group 3-placed Soignee, was bred in France by Jean Pierre Joseph Dubois. She was sold to Terry Yoshida immediately after the Breeders’ Cup and retired to be a broodmare in Japan.

 

Date Track Race Finish Chart Distance Time Beyers Video
11/4/11 CD BC Filly & Mare Turf 10th 1 3/8 mile 2:18.62 89 Video
8/13/11 AP Beverly D 1st 1 3/16 mile 1:57.40 101 Video
7/02/11 MTH United Nations 1st 1 3/8 mile 1:38.40 98 Video

Stacelita

Breeder: Jean Pierre Joseph Dubois 
Trainer: Chad C. Brown
Owner: Martin S. Schwartz
Record: 16-9-2-2
Best Beyer: 101

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