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Leah's Secret to keep racing
ARCADIA, Calif. - The career of seven-time stakes winner Leah's Secret is not quite over.
Following Leah's Secret win in Saturday's $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita, owner WinStar Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher have chosen to keep her in California for a possible start in the $300,000 Santa Maria Handicap, a Grade 1 race over 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 14. Prior to the Sunshine Millions, she had been scheduled to be sent to Kentucky to be bred after the race.
"She is staying here," said Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's assistant. "Maybe she can get a Grade 1 win by her name."
Leah's Secret won her third consecutive stakes in the Sunshine Millions Distaff for California-breds and Florida-breds. Sent off as the 7-5 favorite in a field of 12, Leah's Secret rallied from sixth to win by 2 1/4 lengths over 11-1 Lady Railrider.
"She looked fantastic," McCarthy said. "She did everything right. She had plenty left in the tank. The filly's obviously gotten very good in the last few months."
A 6-year-old by Tiger Ridge, Leah's Secret has won 9 of 26 starts and $1,140,805.
Last fall, Leah's Secret won two Grade 2 races over a mile - the Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct. She has never won a Grade 1, losing three starts at that level. Last year, she was fourth in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga and fourth in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park.
Spenditallbaby's condition still critical
Spenditallbaby, who was pulled up on the first turn of the Distaff with a sesamoid injury to her right foreleg, may undergo surgery later this week, trainer Barry Abrams said on Sunday.
Abrams emphasized that it was unclear whether Spenditallbaby could survive the injury.
"It's a matter of whether she doesn't get any infection and the circulation is good," Abrams said. "The first time she shows any discomfort, we won't let her suffer. If she can survive the next four or five days, we can save her as a broodmare."
Spenditallbaby has won 5 of 32 starts and $469,173. She has won two stakes for California-breds - the Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar in 2007 and the B. Thoughtful Stakes at Hollywood Park last April.
California sprinters come through
Sprinters saved the weekend for California-breds.
On Saturday, there were only two California-bred winners in the eight-race Sunshine Millions for Cal-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita - Georgie Boy in the Sprint and Beltene in the Oaks. Both races were over six furlongs.
On Sunday, the California-bred Johnny Eves got the third stakes of his career in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap.
Georgie Boy is unlikely to sprint again in the near future. Trainer Kathy Walsh is entertaining a start on turf for the 4-year-old Georgie Boy, who has won 5 of 10 starts. Even though Georgie Boy rallied along the rail from eighth in a field of nine to win the Sunshine Millions Sprint by 2 1/4 lengths, jockey Garrett Gomez told Walsh that the gelding was not entirely comfortable on the Pro-Ride track.
"Garrett said he didn't handle the track very well," Walsh said. "I might have to think about turf. We'll have to play it by ear. I think he would do well on turf."
Beltene and Johnny Eves are staying in sprints. Beltene, a former maiden claimer unbeaten in three starts, will be pointed for the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs on March 29, trainer Jack Carava said.
Johnny Eves erased the disappointment of a last-place finish in the four-runner El Conejo Handicap on Jan. 1 with his win in the Palos Verdes. He led throughout to win by 1 3/4 lengths over 2-1 favorite Devoted Magic.
"I don't know what happened" in the El Conejo, trainer Jay Robbins said. "He was keyed up as last time. He got away with a much softer pace."
Owned by Sharon Hilliard, Johnny Eves could start in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap on Feb. 21 or the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Handicap on April 4.
Why Magical Fantasy was scratched
Magical Fantasy, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last August, was scratched from Sunday's Grade 3 Tuzla Handicap because the turf course was rated good and she had an outside post, trainer Paddy Gallagher said.
"She seems like she likes a firmer course," Gallagher said. "She didn't have a good draw."
Gallagher said he was considering races on the main track or turf for Magical Fantasy in February.
Foxysox won the sixth stakes of her career in the Tuzla. Owned by Warren Williamson and trained by Carla Gaines, Foxysox, 6, ended a three-race losing streak in the Tuzla. Last spring, she was fourth in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap, a race that is on her schedule this year on March 22, Gaines said.
Indian Blessing vs. Ventura again?
Ventura and Indian Blessing, the first two finishers of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in October, may meet in Saturday's $300,000 Santa Monica Handicap. Or maybe not.
As of Sunday, trainer Bob Baffert was not sure whether Indian Blessing would start in that race, or wait for the $2 million Golden Shaheen against males in Dubai in late March. On Sunday, Indian Blessing worked five furlongs in 1:00.80.
"I don't know what I'll do," Baffert said. "It was just a maintenance work."
Without Indian Blessing running, Ventura would be a standout in the Grade 1 Santa Monica, run over seven furlongs. The other likely starters are Baroness Thatcher, Jibboom, Lethal Heat, She's Cheeky, So Long Sonoma, and Wake Up Maggie.
Gomez gets days
Gomez was given a three-day suspension from next Sunday through Thursday for causing interference in Saturday's 10th race. Gomez was cited for his ride on Commandeered, who was disqualified from second to seventh. Commandeered moved toward the inside rail on the first turn, cutting in front of Temple City, who clipped heels.
Through Sunday, Gomez, Joel Rosario, and Rafael Bejarano were in a three-way tie for the lead in the jockey standings with 27 wins each. Rosario rode four winners Saturday.
Capestro fined for breaking gelding rule
Trainer Paula Capestro has been fined $750 by Santa Anita stewards after failing to report that Storms of Life raced as a gelding for the first time on Jan. 10. Storms of Life finished seventh in a sprint for $10,000 claimers that day.
California racing officials have been aggressively fining trainers who fail to note when a horse is racing as a gelding for the first time. Trainers must inform track officials that a horse has been gelded when entries are submitted a few days before a race.
Horses racing as geldings for the first time often show improvement.