03/23/2012 1:32PM

Santa Anita: City to City starts outside in Santa Ana Stakes

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Shigeki Kikkawa
City to City wins the Buena Vista on Feb. 20, going three wide on the turn and racing wide in the stretch.

ARCADIA, Calif. – An outside post for City to City in Sunday’s 11-runner, $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita left trainer Jerry Hollendorfer unimpressed.

“Nice post, huh?” he said Thursday when entries were drawn.

No, the draw may not be ideal, but Hollendorfer can take consolation with City to City’s last performance, a victory in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap on Feb. 20.

In that race over a mile on turf, jockey Corey Nakatani brought City to City into a prominent position with a three-wide rally on the turn.

Racing wide, she was fourth at the eighth pole and fought well to win by a head over Up In Time. The win ended a four-race losing streak since the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar last September.

“She runs well outside of horses,” Hollendorfer said.

Among the fillies and mares in the Grade 2 Santa Ana, City to City is a top contender in the race over 1 1/8 miles on turf. A 5-year-old mare, City to City has one victory in three starts over that distance, the Providencia Stakes here in April 2010. In her last start over 1 1/8 miles, City to City finished fourth to Bauble Queen in the Grade 2 Robert Frankel Stakes here Jan. 1.

The Santa Ana Stakes could be the fourth career stakes win for City to City, who beat maidens in a $25,000 claiming race at Santa Rosa in August 2009.

The Santa Ana field includes eight stakes winners, including Wild Mia, Strawberrydaiquiri, Cambina, and Vamo a Galupiar, who were third through sixth in the Buena Vista.

Strawberrydaiquiri, a stakes winner at the 2010 Royal Ascot meeting, made her American debut in the Buena Vista, losing by a length in a race she needed for fitness, trainer Ben Cecil said.

“She blew for 45 minutes afterward,” Cecil said. “I think she’ll be very tough.”

Vamo a Galupiar, who won the Megahertz Stakes here in January, was the 3-1 favorite in the Buena Vista. A 5-year-old Chilean-bred mare trained by Neil Drysdale, Vamo a Galupiar raced in traffic in early stretch of the Buena Vista, which hurt her chances.

Cambina also caught the eye in the stretch of the Buena Vista. Last with a quarter-mile remaining, she was beaten 1 1/4 lengths over a distance shorter than her best. Last July, Cambina won the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Bauble Queen may pose the biggest threat. Trained by Eric Kruljac, she won her first stakes in the Frankel, closing from fifth to win by a half-length. After that race, Kruljac said that Bauble Queen would be pointed to the Santa Ana, a schedule he has kept.

“I think she’s fit,” he said. “Hopefully, she doesn’t get too fresh on us and will relax and have that burst of speed like she did last time.”