01/25/2014 7:02PM

Santa Anita: Happy homecoming for Desormeaux aboard Ciao Bella Luna

Benoit & Associates
Ciao Bella Luna (left), under Kent Desormeaux, runs down Marks Mine to win the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It was in Maryland that Kent Desormeaux shot to stardom, but in California where he solidified his route to the Hall of Fame, and it is here where Desormeaux may finally return. He has hinted at it in recent weeks, and showed the locals he has still got the fire in the belly with a victory aboard Ciao Bella Luna in the $126,500 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint for California-bred females on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Ciao Bella Luna ($13) was prominent throughout, pressing the pace of Marks Mine, and those two ran with one another until deep stretch of the downhill turf sprint, at which point Ciao Bella Luna began to edge away, ultimately winning by a half-length.

Tribal Spy loomed menacingly late and was third, just a head behind Marks Mine. Unusual Hottie, the 3-1 favorite, was fourth, and was followed, in order, by Sudden Sunday, Kathleen Rose, This Means War, Journey On, Runfasterelse, Warren’s Flasher, and Heat Du Jour.

Ciao Bella Luna completed the about 6 1/2-furlong course in 1:12.81 to earn her fourth win in 12 lifetime starts. Her biggest victory came in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland last April, when trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Her current trainer, Peter Miller, is the fifth trainer she has had. She is owned by the Rockingham Ranch of Gary Hartunian.

Desormeaux was in town for the weekend, but has said he could return here, where his two sons, from his first marriage, live.

“Another one like that and it’ll be written on the wall,” Desormeaux said of his possible relocation. He is currently based at Gulfstream Park.

This was Desormeaux’s first stakes win in California since the Grade 1 American Oaks in 2009 aboard Gozzip Girl.

Desormeaux said Ciao Bella Luna broke so well he went on with it, in contrast to how he expected the race to unfold.

“That was the opposite of what I expected,” he said. “I thought we’d be back early.”

Ciao Bella Luna, 4, is by Tribal Rule and is out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Shadow of the Moon.

--additional reporting by Steve Andersen

Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
This is the toughest colony in the world.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
It's great to see that Kent has finally settled down. Us bettors had written him off when he failed a couple of alcohol tests. He's riding like the old Desormeaux we used to know and love...
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Kent is the most dangerous man in racing! He is a Cajun with talent!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Ciao Bella Luna and Mark's Mine were renewing a rivalry that began at the end of 2012, when they were two year olds running up in NoCal. In the 2012 Golden Gate Debutante, it was Mark's Mine beating favored Ciao Bella Luna. Both have gone on to do some really good things. Interestingly, the winner of the 2011 GG Debutante, Lady of Fifty, would later win multiple graded stakes, including a grade 1.
Walter More than 1 year ago
So has it been confirmed that Kent D is staying in SoCal? It's is a very interesting story to see if he can regain his place in the jockey colony.
Howard Schwartz More than 1 year ago
He was a champ in Md. He rode the turn instead of waiting for the stretch. My money says he will be back on top
Randy Atkins More than 1 year ago
he needs to get off the alcohol or he'll never be good again
Art Brown More than 1 year ago
I made a lot of cash on Kent D when he was on the east coast in the 90's and when he was stabled in California. Something has gone wrong over the last 5 or so years as he's tumbled. Hope he gets back to where he was which at the time was a top 5 jockey. The guys has more ability than any I saw out there but somethings gotten his head messed up. Maybe it was all the alcohol that he was drinking but he can recover it he wants to.
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
I bet that horse because he once beat Mark's Mine and last race he followed Ponchatrain, who we know is a top class horse for the course.
Ron Solberg More than 1 year ago
good job kent. you can still do it .you are among the best. lets see that comeback.
Joannefs1 . More than 1 year ago
Great to see Kent riding like the champ that he is! I wish him all the luck in the world! Oh by the way have you ever seen a bigger superfecta pay off than the won he provided the winner and it payed a whopping 1 million and 235,000 dollars with Susans Express on top! This is a trivia question for the future!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
That was sweet :) But it only paid off in dime intervals, I think, it would sure be nice to hit a super and collect a pot like that, but unfortunately, like Trotter, you'll just end up counting it and realize just how "broke" you are after paying all debts, public and private. (Uh, that sounds like a freakin Sopranos episode :-)
raypal45 More than 1 year ago
Does anyone really listen to the commentators on TVG and HRTV? I wonder sometimes if they are there to put you off the horse you want to play. Yesterday's pontifications on HRTV "Heat du jour cannot lose". Result; She came a dismal last. Another one "Mr. Speaker, turf to dirt" Fortunately, I stuck to my guns and played Cairo Prince. A 6.00 winner is not bad!! Mr. Speaker did not hit the board!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
A while back I'd pay attention to Simon for a lil insight and he was good when he had the condition book with him at his desk, if he put his mind to it, he'd be a decent capper, but I guess he doesn't have all that much time, with the wifey, kids and all, and who can begrudge him that! John Lenzini, Goose Heimer and John Servis were very astute when it came to the condition book.