01/31/2016 6:19PM

Cadet Roni benefits from surface switch in Wishing Well

Benoit & Associates
Cadet Roni, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, wins the off-the-turf Wishing Well Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A wet Sunday at Santa Anita suited Cadet Roni just fine when she made her stakes debut in the $82,800 Wishing Well Stakes for fillies and mares.

Cadet Roni was stuck on the also-eligible list for the Wishing Well Stakes, which was originally scheduled for the hillside turf course. When rain moved the race to the main track early Sunday, there were five scratches from an original list of 13.

Cadet Roni gained a place in the field, and inherited the role of favorite. She fought for the lead early in the 6 1/2-furlong race  and won by an easy 6 3/4 lengths in 1:15.52 on a wet-fast track.

“I was hoping for rain,” trainer Mark Glatt said. “The only time I ran her on grass it didn’t work out too well.”

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Cadet Roni ($4.60) dueled with Yana on the backstretch and led by a half-length after a half-mile. She led by 4 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.

“My horse broke on the lead and raced comfortable,” Bejarano said. “I was loaded. I had so much horse.”

Kool Kat, the 18-1 longest shot in the field, closed from last to finish second, a length in front of 15-1 Bad Ju Ju. Lutine Belle was fourth, followed by Yana, Minks Aprise, Tiz Ladys Legs, and Sheer Pleasure.

The race was restricted to fillies and mares who had not won a graded stakes since July 1. The only stakes winners among the starters were Sheer Pleasure, who won two stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies last spring, and Lutine Belle, who won the Blue Norther Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf in January 2015.

Cadet Roni, by Colonel John, has won 4 of 11 starts and earned $148,840 for owners Al and Sandee Kirkwood of Washington state. Cadet Roni was purchased for $105,000 at the 2014 Barretts March sale of select 2-year-olds in-training.

Cadet Roni won a $40,000 claiming race for maidens at Del Mar last August in her sixth start and has since won 2 of 4 starts. She won an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 10.

“She was a nervous filly early in her career,” Glatt said. “Fillies can get better with age. She needed to settle. I think she’s a lot more mature.

“The mud didn’t bother her.”