03/14/2015 7:06PM

Warren's Veneda dominates Santa Margarita

Benoit & Associates
Warren's Veneda, with Tyler Baze aboard, cruises to a 7 1/4-length victory in the Santa Margarita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It took about 20 starts and into her 5-year-old year for Warren’s Veneda to find her best form, but she has gone from strength to strength this season at Santa Anita, and on Saturday she won the biggest race of her career, and did so stylishly, romping to a 7 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $400,250 Santa Margarita Stakes.

 The Santa Margarita is the championship race of the season for older fillies and mares. Warren’s Veneda had developed into the best of the division currently racing on this circuit, but there were a couple of shippers who came west -- Cassatt and Dame Dorothy -- to try and stop her.

 They and the others were no match for Warren’s Veneda ($5). Last of six early, she readily advanced in earnest on the far turn, quickly shot clear of her rivals in upper stretch, and poured it on down the lane under jockey Tyler Baze.

 Dame Dorothy got up for a second, a half-length better than Thegirlinthatsong. Uzziel was fourth and was followed, in order, by Legacy and Cassatt. Tiz Midnight was scratched.

 On a hot, 92-degree afternoon, Warren’s Veneda completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.73.

 The victory was the eighth in 22 starts for Warren’s Veneda, who won the Paseana in January and Grade 2 Santa Maria in February in her two prior starts this meet. This race was better than those two.

 “You never can expect a dominating performance like that,” said Craig Lewis, who trains Warren’s Veneda for owner-breeder Ben Warren. “She more than exceeded my expectations.”

 Warren’s Veneda, a daughter of Affirmative, was bred in California.

 Lewis said among the options he is considering for the next start for Warren’s Veneda is the Grade 2, $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, against males, on April 18.