04/05/2012 2:01PM

Santa Anita: Lady of Shamrock will be tested in Providencia

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Benoit & Associates
Lady of Shamrock, with Mike Smith riding, wins the China Doll.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A perfect record on turf at Santa Anita this winter will make Lady of Shamrock a deserving favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Providencia Stakes.

This time, she must beat the toughest field she has faced, one that includes a core of accomplished turf runners and a few notable stakes winners on main tracks.

Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing, Lady of Shamrock won the Blue Norther Stakes on Dec. 30, finished third in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes on the main track on Jan. 28, and rebounded to win the China Doll Stakes on turf on March 10.

The competition in the Providencia is a test, as is the distance. The Grade 3 Providencia is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, the longest race of Lady of Shamrock’s career. The added distance is not a concern for Sadler.

“She’ll run all day,” Sadler said. “The one thing going a distance is you don’t get a much pace as you would at a mile.

“Her first race was very impressive. In the dirt race, she got [graded] stakes-placed. Now, she’s back on turf.”

Lady of Shamrock is one of four stakes winners in the field. Killer Graces will be making her turf course debut, having won three stakes on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park last year, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes in December.

Killer Graces was seventh in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes on dirt here on March 3, finishing one position in front of Charm the Maker, another Providencia runner.

Trained by Ron McAnally, Charm the Maker won the Sharp Cat Stakes on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park last November. The Providencia will be her turf debut, but the surface switch does not concern McAnally.

Charm the Maker’s dam, Charm the Giant, was a stakes winner on turf.

“She worked well on it, and her mother ran on the grass,” McAnally said.

“She didn’t handle the dirt too good. She got a little dirt in her face.”

The field also includes Island Paradise, unraced since running third in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park last fall; Ms Pianist, who is making her stakes debut; Indigo River, the winner of the Sweet Life Stakes on the hillside turf course on Feb. 12; and Byrama, the winner of an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on Feb. 26.

Indigo River was third as the 2-1 favorite in the Chia Doll Stakes, finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Lady of Shamrock.

Byrama is another filly who faces a distance test in the Providencia.

She was third in the Blue Norther in December and later a troubled second in an optional claimer in early February. Jockey Garrett Gomez will ride Byrama for the first time on Saturday, but has been aboard in recent workouts.

“She’s always been a nice filly,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.

“Garrett was happy when he worked her the other day. We’re stretching out, but she’s been relaxing well in the mornings.”