02/08/2013 4:09PM

Santa Anita notes: Stra wins first race of comeback


Jockey Kayla Stra, who gave birth to a son in November, won the first race of her comeback in Thursday’s fourth race aboard Wild in the Saddle.

The victory was not without a few anxious moments. Wild in the Saddle ($19.60) won the six-furlong race for $12,500 claimers by a head over No Tricks for Jack. The result was subject to a stewards’ inquiry regarding close contact between the two, but the order of finish was not changed.

The presence of a pesky No Tricks for Jack, who was ridden by Tyler Baze, was more of a fear for Stra than the inquiry.

“I was worried that I’d get beaten,” she said. “That horse of Tyler’s kept running.”

Stra, 28, gave birth to Brys Headley in November. Brys Headley’s father is Stra’s partner, Southern California trainer Gus Headley. Young Brys was in the winner’s circle for Thursday’s race.

Stra returned to riding Jan. 19. Wild in the Saddle was the eighth mount of her return.

“It’s the first one you’ve got to get past,” she said.

Motown Men eyes Tiznow Stakes

Motown Men has the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes over 7 1/2 furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 27 as a long-range target after winning for the second time in his career in an optional claimer on turf Thursday.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Motown Men ($9) led throughout the one-mile race, winning by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:33.61. Owned by a partnership that includes breeder Mark Gorman, Motown Men is likely to make his next start in an allowance race against open company with a shift to a synthetic track in the spring, trainer Peter Eurton said.

Eurton said he would like to see the 4-year-old Motown Men in another allowance race before a stakes.

“For me, it’s all about running through conditions for California-breds,” Eurton said. “We’ll give him a little spacing off a big race like that. I never thought he’d run away like that.”

◗ Racing will be conducted on five days next week, from Thursday through Monday, which is Presidents Day. The major races next weekend are the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes over 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares on Saturday, the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs next Sunday, and the $150,000 Buena Vista Stakes for female turf milers on Presidents' Day.