12/28/2009 12:00AM

La Brea Stakes Analysis


Saturday, December 26, 2009
Santa Anita - Race 8
7 Furlongs (Pro-Ride)
La Brea Stakes (Grade 1)
3-year-old fillies
Purse $300,000

Although AMAZED BY GRACE has yet to race on a synthetic surface, has yet to race past six furlongs, and will take a steep class hike, the lightly-raced daughter of Bowman's Band enters the La Brea in razor-sharp form.  She has used her good tactical speed to win her last five races over various surfaces and attracts top rider Garrett Gomez for this engagement.  A gate-to-wire winner of her last two races over the dirt course at Philadelphia Park, Amazed by Grace won from off the pace over grass three back.  Gomez should have her close to the lead as the field begins their stretch charge and his mount may just be this good.
MOTHER RUTH looked good dominating maidens four back in the slop at Belmont, but she seemed a bit flat last time out in a listed stake at Aqueduct.  Eased off the pace and the rail by Javier Castellano that afternoon, Mother Ruth advanced to the leaders while four wide on the turn.  She made her final lead change a bit early and just couldn't go with the winner in final furlong.  Mother Ruth ran well in her career debut over Pro-Ride earlier in the year and may appreciate switching back to this synthetic surface for Bob Baffert.  She should offer some value in a very competitive race.
Lightly-raced PINKARELLA showed a good amount of class when winning her entry-level allowance race at Hollywood last time out.  That was her first start in eight months as she was sidelined with a bone chip in an ankle, and she showed no signs of rust.  It's quite possible we haven't seen the best of Pinkarella and she may work out a good outside stalking trip under Tyler Baze.
EVITA ARGENTINA will attempt to become the fourth next-out winner from the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and the late-running filly was compromised by a lack of early pace in that quality affair.  She was spun widest turning for home and simply was no match for top older sprinters like Informed Decision and Ventura.  Evita Argentina may get a bit more zip to run at in the La Brea and she is very dangerous at this distance. 
DANI REESE broke poorly in her most recent start, but that may have been the best thing for this speedy filly as the early pace was extremely fast.  Dani Reese professionally relaxed near the back of the pack and showed a new dimension by finishing with a flourish.  She was probably aided by that pace, however, and she would likely need plenty of things to break her way as she takes a big leap up the class ladder.  Don't be surprised if KAYS AND JAYS is one of the early leaders as the Macho Uno filly must break from the rail.  Her jockey, Rafael Bejarano, likely will use his mount to establish position, and Kays and Jays looked good winning the Cascapedia Stakes over this course and distance last time out.  The Cascapedia was her first start since she suffered a foot injury and she showed no ill effects when going gate-to-wire.  Bejarano will hope to get away with moderate fractions up front but there may be other speeds to her outside to press her early.  She may come up a bit short in the stretch.  WILL O WAY is a multiple stakes winner around two turns but she did win her career debut at 5 1/2 furlongs.  She was third at 30-1 in the Grade 3 Railbird two starts back off a similar route to sprint move but her late run was aided by quick fractions up front that day.  These may be too tough for her to run down at seven furlongs.  MINUTE LIMIT was the beaten favorite in her last two races on turf but she won sprinting on polytrack in England earlier in her career.  She likes to wind up from the back of the pack and will likely need a good deal of race and pace luck.  STARLARKS, like Minute Limit, is a closer that usually races on turf.  Like Minute Limit, she has won over a synthetic surface overseas.  And like Minute Limit, she may find these a bit too tough.  ALICE'S SMART ships in from Kentucky and she is a perfect 2-2 over synthetic surfaces.  She enjoyed a wonderful rail-skimming trip in beating 'n2L' allowance horses two back, however.  She still has some things to prove at this level.  ROSE DIAMOND makes her first start on the main track after an even effort on grass.  GABBY'S GOLDEN GAL, the winner of the Grade 1 Acorn on dirt, has been plagued by various physical problems, and one could forgive her if she needed a race off the five-month rest.

1.  Amazed by Grace
2.  Mother Ruth
3.  Pinkarella
4.  Evita Argentina