03/08/2013 2:47PM

Santa Anita: Teddy's Promise streaks into Las Flores Stakes


ARCADIA, Calif. – Teddy’s Promise can continue a perfect season at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting with a victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Las Flores Stakes for female sprinters.

Since the meeting began in late December, Teddy’s Promise has won the Kalookan Queen Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs by 5 1/4 lengths on Dec. 29 and the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes over seven furlongs by three lengths Jan. 26. The wins have helped to erase the disappointment of her eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint here last November.

Sunday, Teddy’s Promise will be a strong favorite to win the Grade 3 Las Flores over 6 1/2 furlongs, and trainer Ron Ellis expects a winning performance.

“She really is doing well,” he said. “She’s been working awesome.”

Owned by breeders Ted and Judy Nichols, Teddy’s Promise has won 8 of 21 starts and $634,981. The Las Flores is considered a prep for the $300,000 Humana Distaff over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 4 “if she runs impressively,” Ellis said.

“We could take a shot in there,” he said.

Teddy’s Promise will be ridden by Victor Espinoza in the Las Flores, which drew a field of eight.

Ellis considers Teddy’s Promise to be a filly who has evolved from a speed-oriented runner early in her career to a mare that is more adaptable.

“She’s been relaxing very well,” he said. “She’s not as one dimensional as she was. She’s in good shape now.”

Teddy’s Promise can win the fifth stakes of her career in the Las Flores. Her most prestigious win was the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes over seven furlongs here in December 2011.

The win in the Kalookan Queen ended a four-race losing streak dating back to the Time to Leave Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park last May. Last summer, Teddy’s Promise was fifth in the Desert Stormer and Grade 2 A Gleam handicaps at Hollywood Park. She was fourth in the California Cup Distaff on turf at Santa Anita last October.

“I think there were some excuses,” Ellis said. “You can throw out her turf race and a couple of races at Hollywood Park when the track was so deep in the summer. Her form got a little muddled, but I don’t think it was an indication of her.”

Teddy’s Promise will benefit if there is a pace duel between Shumoos and Distracting in the Las Flores.

Shumoos was second in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs, missed all of 2012 because of a series of ailments, and won an optional claimer over six furlongs by leading throughout here on Jan. 25.

“I was surprised she led last time,” trainer Ben Cecil said. “She’s had plenty of time since that race. It’s a stern test.”

Distracting was fourth in the Santa Monica and returned to win an allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs Feb. 21. She is trained by Bob Baffert, who also starts Pink Lollipops, who was seventh in the Santa Monica.

Sugarinthemorning, second in the Santa Monica, is a threat from off the pace. Trainer Ron McAnally said that he has been able to keep weight on the 5-year-old Sugarinthemorning in recent weeks, which increases his confidence about her chances.

“She’s not a real good eater, but she’s been better lately,” McAnally said. “She’s more mature and she’s filled out.”