04/23/2014 1:33PM

Anniversary Kitty switches surfaces for Melair Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Swiss Lake Yodeler (above) will be one of Anniversary Kitty's main rivals in the Melair on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Anniversary Kitty will be asked to try something new in Saturday’s $250,000 Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. She will race on dirt for the first time in the race over 1 1/16 miles. The lucrative purse was a deciding factor in giving the surface a try, trainer Craig Dollase said.

“For that kind of money, it’s worth taking a shot,” he said.

Owned by Highlander Racing Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, Anniversary Kitty was second in the California Cup Oaks over a mile on turf in January. She was ninth against open company in the China Doll Stakes on turf March 8 and third in an allowance race over a mile on turf for California-bred fillies on April 11.

“This race is a little quick back,” Dollase said.

By Tribal Rule, Anniversary Kitty is part of a field of eight in the Melair Stakes. The stakes winners Rovenna and Swiss Lake Yodeler lead the field.

The Melair Stakes is one of five stakes for California-breds on Saturday’s California Gold Rush program.

The $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on turf is led by Tamarando, who has won three stakes, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last September.

The other stakes are the $125,000 Tiznow over a mile for older males, the $125,000 Spring Fever for fillies and mares over six furlongs, and the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine for fillies and mares over a mile on turf.