10/20/2011 2:08PM

Santa Anita: Sister Moon in stepping-stone


ARCADIA, Calif. – The schedule of major stakes for 2-year-old fillies this fall did not match the development of Sister Moon, the highly promising filly owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer by John Sadler.

After an electrifying win in a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 21, it would not have been a surprise for Sister Moon to appear in a race such as the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Oct. 2.

When Sadler deemed Sister Moon unprepared, Saturday’s $65,000 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs became an alternative.

“When she won at Del Mar, she ran so big, bigger than we thought,” Sadler said. “We wanted to give her extra time. In her first few works up here, I could see she wasn’t ready to go a distance.”

Sadler said he wanted Sister Moon to adjust better to Santa Anita’s dirt track after the filly trained on synthetic tracks at Hollywood Park and Del Mar earlier in the year. In recent weeks at Santa Anita, Sister Moon has shown fast works, including six furlongs in 1:11.60 on Oct. 15.

“She’s trained well for this race, and she’ll be tough,” Sadler said.

The Anoakia is likely to be a steppingstone for two-turn races for Sister Moon this winter. “She’ll have two-turn races a little later, but not in her second start,” Sadler said.

The Anoakia drew only six fillies, none of whom are stakes winners. Lasso From El Paso, the winner of a $55,000 claiming race for maidens at Del Mar in August, was third in the seven-furlong Phil Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park last month. Evelyn’s Dancer was ninth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante. Lady Pecan was last of eight in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 4.

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Lady Pecan has worked quickly at Santa Anita in recent weeks, typical of a runner trained by Bob Baffert.

Nicos Memory is the most experienced runners in the field with 2 wins in 4 starts. The Anoakia is her stakes debut.

Sister Moon led throughout her maiden race, pulling away through the stretch to win by 9 3/4 lengths. She is arguably the quickest filly in the Anoaka field, but could face an early threat from Ismene, a maiden race winner at Del Mar. Trained by Bill Spawr, Ismene disputed the pace throughout her win on Aug. 13 and drew the rail in the Anoakia.