04/19/2012 2:29PM

Santa Anita: Santa Barbara can be stepping-stone for Vamo a Galupiar

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Benoit & Associates
Vamo a Galupiar, with Joseph Talamo riding, wins the Megahertz Stakes, a victory she would follow up with at Santa Ana score.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Vamo a Galupiar has already won two turf stakes this year, the Megahertz Stakes in January and the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes in March.

For Saturday’s $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita, Vamo a Galupiar will be a short-priced favorite. The Santa Barbara is a race that trainer Neil Drysdale said should lead to bigger things for the 5-year-old Chilean-bred mare later this year.

“I think she should improve this summer,” he said. “That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Owned by Robert Evans, Vamo a Galupiar will race over 1 1/4 miles for the first time in the Santa Barbara. The Santa Ana over 1 1/8 miles is the longest race of her career. “I think she’s coming around well,”

Drysdale said. “I don’t see the added distance to be any problem to her.”

Vamo a Galupiar was a Group 1 winner over about a mile against fillies in Chile in 2010. She made one start in 2011, finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park, but has rebounded this year. Drysdale is optimistic that Vamo a Galupiar will start in Grade 1 stakes this summer.

In the Santa Barbara, she is a standout in a field of seven that includes three other stakes winners – Bauble Queen, Cambina, and Hard Seven.

Cambina won the Grade 1 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park last summer, but is winless in her last five starts.

Trained by Jeff Bonde, Cambina was sixth in the Santa Ana, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

Hard Seven was third in the Santa Ana as a 67-1 outsider. Trained at Turf Paradise in Arizona by Dan McFarlane, the 4-year-old Hard Seven won two minor stakes there last November and in February.

Bauble Queen won the Grade 2 Robert Frankel Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf here on Jan. 1, but was only ninth in the Santa Ana Stakes.

Trainer Eric Kruljac dismissed the loss, citing a torrid downpour that occurred as the field was loaded as the cause for a disappointing performance. The rain continued through the race.

Kruljac later joked that Bauble Queen is a filly “who prefers to bathe” as opposed to taking a shower.

“She didn’t run her type of race,” he said. “In the downpour, she never picked up the bit. She was dumbfounded. We’re hoping that’s the deal and she goes back to running the kind of race that she ran on New Year’s Day.”

The Santa Barbara will be Bauble’s Queen’s first start over 1 1/4 miles. Similar to Vamo a Galupiar, Bauble Queen is a closer with a strong late rally.

“We always felt this could be her best distance,” Kruljac said. “Her kick, the time she won, was pretty impressive. If we can get her to settle, and run her race, I think we’ll get a big part of it. It looks like a very competitive race.”

[MORE: Download PPs and read handicapping analysis for full Santa Anita Saturday race card]