03/09/2013 1:45PM

Santa Anita: More Chocolate to stay on dirt for Santa Margarita

Benoit & Associaties
More Chocolate won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes in her main-track debut and will stay on dirt for the Grade 1 Santa Margarita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – More Chocolate won two races, placed in graded stakes, and earned $92,790 while racing exclusively on turf in 2012. She may have been running on the wrong surface.

In her main-track debut, More Chocolate won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 20.

“She handled the dirt so well first time on it,” trainer John Sadler said. “I thought she was turf only.”

Sadler is keeping More Chocolate on the main track for her next start, the $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes next Saturday. The Grade 1 Santa Margarita is run over 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares and is the championship race of the meeting for the division.

More Chocolate has not started since the La Canada Stakes, which was for 4-year-old fillies. Owned by Michael Talla, More Chocolate could have run in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes over 1 1/16 miles Feb. 16, but Sadler wanted a fresh filly for the Santa Margarita. More Chocolate began the meeting with a third in the Grade 3 Robert Frankel Stakes on turf Dec. 30, her stakes debut.

“ She ran well in the Frankel,” Sadler said. “I wanted to take advantage of her [age] condition. It was the last opportunity to run in her age group. She handled the surface. She’s training really well. I could have run her in the middle race, but she’s already a Grade 2 winner. I thought I’d wait for the Grade 1.”

The competition in the Santa Margarita will be much tougher. The contenders may include My Miss Aurelia, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2011; Book Review, who won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters in December; and Joyful Victory, who won the Sam Houston Ladies Classic in Texas on Jan. 26.