03/11/2014 2:57PM

Santa Anita: Field for Santa Margarita to be small but talented

Email
Shigeki Kikkawa
Spellbound (No. 6) and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes by a neck over Let Faith Arise on Jan. 19.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The $350,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita on Saturday will be a race for locals.

After trainer Bill Mott said Tuesday that Close Hatches would start in Saturday’s $200,000 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park, the Santa Margarita lost its potential shipper among the 12 nominees.

But the five fillies and mares expected for the Grade 1 race over 1 1/8 miles all won or placed in stakes in the last year – Fiftyshadesofhay, Iotapa, Let Faith Arise, Macha, and Spellbound. The Santa Margarita is the championship race of the winter-spring meeting for older fillies and mares.

Spellbound won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes on Jan. 19, finishing a neck in front of Let Faith Arise, who won the California Wine Stakes at Pleasanton last June.

Macha was third in the Honeymoon Handicap last summer at Hollywood Park. Iotapa won the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 15.

Fiftyshadesofhay was fourth in the La Canada and is best known for winning the Grade  2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico last May.

Let Faith Arise and Macha are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Tuesday, Hollendorfer said that Scherzinger, winner of the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes in January, will “get a little break.”

On Monday at Santa Anita, Iotapa worked six furlongs in 1:12.20, while Fiftyshadesofhay worked five furlongs in 1:00.20.

“She worked super great,” trainer Bob Baffert said of Fiftyshadesofhay.

On Tuesday at Santa Anita, Spellbound worked a half-mile in 49 seconds. Trained by Richard Mandella, Spellbound won her first stakes in the La Canada.

◗ The Baffert-trained Midnight Lucky, the winner of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park last May, is working toward a comeback. On Tuesday at Santa Anita, the 4-year-old filly worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds, her sixth recorded workout since early February. Midnight Lucky, a Midnight Lute filly, won the Sunland Park Oaks in March 2013 but was fifth in the Kentucky Oaks last May. She has won 3 of 4 starts and earned $362,100 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.