03/12/2013 2:21PM

Santa Anita: Path is clear for Joyful Victory in Santa Margarita

Coady Photography
Joyful Victory will try for her first Grade 1 win Saturday in the Santa Margarita Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The decision by the connections of My Miss Aurelia to leave Santa Anita for the Azeri Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park has further reduced the field for that day’s Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes here at Santa Anita.

The Santa Margarita now could have as few as five runners, headed by Joyful Victory, who was scheduled to make her second trip to California in less than six months.

Joyful Victory shipped here in September and finished second in the Grade 1 Zenyatta at 1 1/16 miles, beaten only by Love and Pride. Since then, she raced twice last fall at Churchill Downs before a runaway victory last time out in the Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 26.

Although she has finished second twice and third once in Grade 1 stakes, Joyful Victory has yet to win a Grade 1 race. Her chances increased exponentially with My Miss Aurelia leaving town.

Entries for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita – the championship race of the meet for older fillies and mares – were scheduled to be taken Wednesday. In addition to Joyful Victory – to be ridden by Rosie Napravnik – the Santa Margarita field was expected to include Great Hot, More Chocolate, Snow Fall, and The Only Key.

Great Hot is coming off a front-running victory in the Santa Maria on Feb. 16. Snow Fall was fourth in that race. More Chocolate has not raced since capturing the La Canada on Jan. 20. The Only Key would be the longshot. She was second in a first-level allowance on turf in her last start.

zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Alright! Rosie is coming back to Santa Anita. Get ready, Gary (if you're back on Great Hot). This gal can ride!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I guess the connections of My Miss Aurelia have doubts whether she can get 9 furlongs. The 9 furlongs of the Santa Margarita vs. the 8.5 furlongs of the Azeri would appear to be the reason for going in the Azeri, because I doubt the Santa Margarita field will be any tougher than the Azeri. Joyful Victory is in career form, but we basically know what we're getting from her. The only way the Santa Margarita ends up drawing a positive review when we look back upon it in the future is if More Chocolate turns out to be a dirt monster, which is a possibility. Otherwise, yes this a yawning rendition of a great race; the Santa Margarita deserves a better field.
Suzanne Thomas More than 1 year ago
It's unfortunate that Eblouissante was not ready for this race. That would have spiced up the field.
Lawrence More than 1 year ago
Maybe they want to give My Miss Aurelia a race over the Oaklawn track in preparation for the Apple Blossom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This race is full of tomato cans with legs. A stagger fest in the stretch.This race should be a G3 tops.
You Feel Lucky More than 1 year ago
This post is filled with a tomato can with leg's.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
They don't grade races by the field that is actually drawn. The Santa Margarita gets its grade 1 status from decades of drawing top drawer fields. However, if a race strings together a number of mediocre fields, it can be downgraded. It should take a lot for the Santa Margarita to be dropped to a grade 2. However, this is the third straight year the Santa Margarita has drawn a sub-standard field. In 2011 the race was hurt when Hollendorfer chose the Azeri over the Santa Margarita for Blind Luck, fearing a speed-biased Santa Anita maintrack(the irony is that the 2011 Santa Margarita featured a wicked speed duel between Switch and Always a Princess that would have set up Blind Luck's late run perfectly, while the Azeri featured future Horse of the Year, Havre de Grace). The 2012 running drew only 4 or 5 starters, but that field ended up looking better in retrospect given Include Me Out would win 2 grade 1 races and 2 grade 2 races in 2012 and place in 3 other grade 1s, including the BC Ladies Classic. Last year's Santa Margarita runner-up, Love Theway Youare, would go on to win the grade 1 Vanity. But still, the field was below the norm for the Santa Margarita.
Gary Smith More than 1 year ago
How would you like to own Brushed By A Star who has made almost $550,000,or Joyful Victory, 950,000.They are both worth millions of Dollars?Certainly not Tomato Cans.. .You are a Jerk!
Joel Schiff More than 1 year ago
Where is the top mare from last year, Include Me Out?
Kendra Mcallister More than 1 year ago
Ron Ellis special keeping them in the barn
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
This will probably end up being the weakest Gr.1 race of the year for older horses
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Unless More Chocolate turns out to be the real deal.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Rosie & JV smoke em!!!...ty...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, go collect your 2.20 per.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Just been a fan of hers since 06....
Gary Smith More than 1 year ago
Santa Margarita,features the best rivalry currently in horse racing, Brushed By A Star 2 vs Joyful Victory 1 Round 4 Sat.
Matt More than 1 year ago
Bright Thought WIRE TO WIRE! BOOM!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bright Thought is not in the race but she would win if she was, would like to see her here.