01/26/2013 7:27PM

Santa Anita: Teddy’s Promise keeps herself in the game with Santa Monica victory

Benoit & Associates
Teddy's Promise, with Victor Espinoza aboard, convinces her owners to keep her racing for another season by winning the Santa Monica for fillies and mares.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Teddy’s Promise has earned another year on the racetrack after winning her fourth stakes in the $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Owners Ted and Judy Nichols were debating whether to retire Teddy’s Promise if she was beaten in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares over seven furlongs. The victory swayed the decision, according to trainer Ron Ellis.

“They said if she won this race they would keep her in training with the Breeders’ Cup in mind,” Ellis said.

The BC Filly and Mare Sprint will be run at Santa Anita in November.

Last fall, Teddy’s Promise finished eighth in that race behind Groupie Doll after setting the early pace. In her last two starts, Teddy’s Promise has raced from just off the early pace and has won both starts.

In the Santa Monica, jockey Victor Espinoza had Teddy’s Promise in third place down the backstretch, outside of pacesetter Kindle, who set early fractions of 22.86 and 45.69 seconds. Teddy’s Promise challenged Kindle in early stretch, took the lead in the final furlong, and won by three lengths.

Sent off favored, Teddy’s Promise ($5) ran seven furlongs in 1:22.64.
“It went according to plan,” Ellis said. “Victor did a good job getting her to the outside.

“She’s getting better mentally, and that’s a big thing for her. It’s a process that took longer than I thought it would.”

Sugarinthemorning, who was second in the 2012 Santa Monica when the race was a Grade 1, closed from fourth to be second, finishing a half-length in front of Kindle. Distracting, second early, finished fourth, followed by Belle of the Hall, Journaliste, and Pink Lollipops.

The Nichols bred Teddy’s Promise, a 5-year-old mare by Salt Lake who has won 8 of 21 starts and $634,981. Teddy’s Promise won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes in December 2011. She won the minor Kalookan Queen Stakes on a wet-fast track on Dec. 29 in her first start since the BC Filly and Mare Turf. Saturday’s Santa Monica was run on a wet-fast track.