04/05/2014 4:45PM

Santa Anita Oaks: Fashion Plate goes all the way

Benoit & Associates
Fashion Plate, ridden by Gary Stevens, takes the Santa Anita Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Fashion Plate will go to the $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 2 with a defined role: She will be the filly to catch.

On Saturday, Fashion Plate won her second consecutive Grade 1 race in the $400,500 Santa Anita Oaks. The Oaks was Fashion Plate’s second start of the year, preceded by a win in the Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile Feb. 1.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, Fashion Plate led throughout the Santa Anita Oaks, holding off a threat from Ria Antonia to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Ria Antonia finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here last November and was promoted to first after race winner She’s a Tiger was disqualified and placed second for causing interference in deep stretch.

The Santa Anita Oaks was Ria Antonia’s first start for trainer Bob Baffert and her second race of 2014, preceded by a fourth in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 22. Following a series of fast works in March, Ria Antonia was the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven in the Santa Anita Oaks.

Fashion Plate ($6.20) led through fractions of 23.75 and 47.38 seconds, holding an early advantage of one or two lengths. Fashion Plate led by two lengths on the turn and by a length with a furlong remaining over Ria Antonia, who closed from fourth to reach contention in early stretch.

Ria Antonia could not get closer but finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of 28-1 Bajan. Honey Ride finished fourth, followed by Arethusa, Artemis, and Smoove It.

Fashion Plate ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.97. She is trained by Simon Callaghan, who also trains Bajan.

Callaghan said the break between the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks was ideal for Fashion Plate.

“We wanted a bit of separation between that race and this race,” he said.

The extra distance of the Santa Anita Oaks proved to be within Fashion Plate’s range. The Kentucky Oaks is run over 1 1/8 miles.

“She showed she didn’t care about the extra sixteenth,” co-owner Arnold Zetcher said of Saturday’s race. “We have another sixteenth to look forward to.”

Fashion Plate, by Old Fashioned, has won 3 of 5 starts and $459,250 for Zetcher and Michael Tabor.

Ria Antonia, who races for Christopher Dunn and Ron Paolucci, will benefit from her second in the Santa Anita Oaks, jockey Mike Smith said.

“I was hoping that someone else would entertain [Fashion Plate] and that would make it easier on me,” Smith said. “She didn’t get anything out of the last race. This was the race you wished she had last time. That was a good filly in front of her.”