02/16/2013 7:00PM

Santa Anita: Great Hot gets down to business and upsets Santa Maria

Benoit & Associates
Gary Stevens manages to get Great Hot (right) to the wire a half-length in front of favored Book Review in the Santa Maria on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Great Hot is capable of occasional quirky behavior and game performances. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens learned of both in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita.

After Great Hot was what Stevens called “playful” in the post parade, she was all business in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes for fillies and mares, the first time that Stevens has ridden the mare. Great Hot led throughout the Santa Maria, winning by a half-length over 11-10 favorite Book Review.

Great Hot ($20.80) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.08. She led by 1 1/2 lengths on the turn when Stevens thought the filly had the race in control.

“At the three-eighths pole, I let her out a notch,” Stevens said. “It was enough to get their attention. In the stretch, she had enough to hold that filly off.”

Book Review, who won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters in December, finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of Lady of Fifty, who was followed by Snow Fall and Private Affair in the small field. Going for a Spin was scratched on Saturday morning.

During the post parade, Stevens noticed that Great Hot “checked herself three or four times."

"I think she was testing me out,” he said.

In the stretch, her stride shortened briefly in the final furlong when, Stevens said, she was distracted by hoofmarks from the starting area.

“She took a stutter step,” he said.

That did not affect the outcome. A 5-year-old Brazilian-bred by Orientate, Great Hot has won three stakes, including the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland in 2011. She had lost 13 starts leading to the Santa Maria Stakes.

Great Hot gave the 49-year-old Stevens his third stakes win in eight days. Stevens, who returned to riding on a full-time basis after a seven-year retirement last month, won two turf stakes last weekend.

Owned by Luiz Fernando Dannemann, who races as Coudelaria Jessica, and trained by A.C. Avila, Great Hot has won 5 of 21 starts and $537,927.

Avila said the $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on March 16 is the next goal for Great Hot.

Jordan More than 1 year ago
Great Hot had won the graded Raven's Run back in 2011 over a field that included Groupie Doll and Mizdirection. She's not a bad horse by any means. However, the fact Great Hot won a grade 2 route race and that Stevens was able to get away with walking the dog shows, in my opinion, that the older female division in Cali is extremely weak and that the jockey colony is nowhere close to what it had been when Gary first hit the scene in themid- late 80s. Now, Gary doesn't have to face any Pincays, or Shoemakers, or Mc Carrons, or Eddie Ds, nor is there a rider close to what Gary himself was in his prime. Bejarano is maybe what Solis was 20 years ago, and that might be a stretch. Talamo is a poor man's Kent D.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Gary Stevens and Great Hot wired the field......Period , he isn't the"iceman" , he isn't a "great rider" wiring this putrid field....he did what a dozen other riders could have done in this paceless race....As soon as he rides a poor race in a stakes , guaranteed the SAME folks praising him today will be calling for his retirement tomorrow....racing , like the rest of the US is simply a what have you done for me TODAY world
Tex Renegade More than 1 year ago
Not only does the old girl still have it but the old boy isn't doing to bad himself!
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
This gig played right into her hands ( xcuse me...Hoofs)..."The Iceman" is Back!!!...ty...
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
This horse was ready today with the equipment change. It would have been fitting to see Omar Berrio on this winner today. He was a great rider indeed. A C Avila always used him and so did Robert Frankel on most of his longshots. Great memories.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
I believe Berrio had 2 strokes
Kyri Freeman More than 1 year ago
Eblouissante would have destroyed these if able to make the race. In the meantime, please, someone back East, send us some horses, because Great Hot as a GII winner is a total joke. I do have to say, Gary Stevens' comeback is proving to be far from the joke I feared it would be. Good job on his part.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
If a Bullfrog had Wings???...
Alan More than 1 year ago
School is in session pupils!
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Another stakes win for Stevens? If he stays with this game and works real hard the kid has a future:)
silver_charm More than 1 year ago
Another example of projected improvement from a rider change, third race off the layoff, and blinkers on. Like many others, I did not notice this trio of changes until after the race....#horseracing
michael More than 1 year ago
Stevens is giving a clinic to this jockey colony. They better pay attention to this master.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago