12/28/2011 3:53PM

Santa Anita: Great Hot using La Brea as stepping-stone

Great Hot, winner of the Torey Pines at Del Mar, will try to rebound from a sub-par performance in the Breeders' Cup, when she returns to California for Saturday's La Brea.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Great Hot had a milestone trip to Kentucky in October, winning the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland. She was in the state for one start too many from the perspective of trainer A.C. Avila. He was left frustrated by her 11th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

With those races in her recent past, Great Hot is being prepared for Saturday’s $300,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. While the Grade 1 La Brea, run over seven furlongs for 3-year-old fillies, has a lucrative purse Avila is focusing on the race as a start to a winter-spring campaign that will keep Great Hot busy in coming months..

“She’s not 100 percent, but she coming up,” he said on Wednesday. “I’ve got a lot of spots I can go.”

For Great Hot, races such as the $150,000 La Canada Stakes on Jan. 22 and $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 18, both over 1 1/16 miles, are also being considered. Plus, those races are not expected to include the three-time Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent, who will be a strong favorite in the La Brea Stakes.

Turbulent Descent was fifth in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint as the favorite. Great Hot was bothered at the start, and raced within three lengths of the front after a quarter-mile before fading under jockey Chantal Sutherland.

“Chantal said when she left the gate, she wasn’t comfortable,” Avila said.

He said that Great Hot bled “a three out of five,” a recurrence of an incident at Del Mar earlier this year.

A repeat of her performance in the Raven Run Stakes over seven furlongs would make Great Hot competitive in the La Brea, which drew a field of nine.

The race will not include the unbeaten California-bred Tiz Flirtatious, who won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park on Dec. 11 in her stakes debut. She is more likely to start in the La Canada, trainer Marty Jones said on Wednesday.

“She’s not ready” for the La Brea, he said. “I thought she’d recover a little quicker.”

Brazilian import set for Kalookan Queen

Avila has a roster in his 22-horse stable that should provide starters in numerous stakes in coming months.

Sunday, Equitana, a 4-year-old Brazilian-bred filly, makes her U.S. debut in the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt. Equitana has won 6 of her 12 starts, including the Group 1 Presidente de Republica in Brazil last May.

“She’s a miler,” Avila said. “If she can relax, she can be good. She either runs good or bad. If she relaxes she gets a mile. If she runs off, she’ll stop.”

Imponente Purse, the winner of the Grade 3 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park in July, returns from a three-month break in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes on Feb. 11, Avila said.

In the spring, Go Forth North, a two-time stakes winner in 2010, and Celtic Princess, who won the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park last July, will return to racing.


La Brea S. (G1), Post Time: 4:07 PT Saturday

Purse: $300,000; 7 furlongs





ML Odds


Home Sweet Aspen

J. Sadler

J. Rosario



Turbulent Descent

M. Puype

D. Flores



May Day Rose

B. Baffert

M. Garcia



Include Me Out

R. Ellis

J. Talamo



Sarah's Secret

K. Walsh

R. Bejarano




R. McAnally

G. Gomez



Great Hot (BRZ)

A. Avila

C. Sutherland



California Nectar

D. O'Neill

H. Berrios



Teddy's Promise

R. Ellis

V. Espinoza