01/11/2015 7:22PM

Warren's Veneda follows winning strategy to victory in Paseana


ARCADIA, Calif. – The strategy session regarding Warren’s Veneda’s tactics in Sunday’s $92,500 Paseana Stakes at Santa Anita was unresolved when the field left the paddock.

“I wanted to keep her more in the race,” jockey Tyler Baze said.

“I didn’t want to take her out of her race,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “I said, ‘You’re riding her.’ ”

Baze backed up his point of view with an ideal ride on Warren’s Veneda, who won the minor stakes over 1 1/16 miles by 5 1/2 lengths.

Warren’s Veneda ($10.40) raced from a stalking position instead of her customary place from farther back in the field. On the turn, Warren’s Veneda was on the inside, behind the pacesetter Legacy. When space developed on the rail, Baze urged Warren’s Veneda to the lead. She quickly pulled clear to lead by four lengths with a furlong remaining.

“He said he had plenty at that time, and he wanted to give her a breather,” Lewis said. “When he turned her loose, it was over.”

Warren’s Veneda was timed in 1:42.97 on a wet-fast track, finishing well clear of the 9-2 Taste Like Candy. Valiant Emilia, a 14-1 shot, finished third, followed by Legacy, Zilber, Tiz Midnight, and Eblouissante.

Valiant Emilia, a multiple stakes winner in Peru in 2014, was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff here in November in her U.S. debut.

Tiz Midnight, the 3-5 favorite in the Paseana, beat Warren’s Veneda by a head Dec. 6 in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos. Jockey Victor Espinoza said the wet-fast conditions were against Tiz Midnight on Sunday. Espinoza did not urge Tiz Midnight when she faded from contention in early stretch.

“I think she hated the track,” Espinoza said. “After 20 yards, she was spinning her legs.”

Warren’s Veneda races for breeder Ben Warren. She won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park in December, 2013 and lost nine consecutive races, all in stakes, in the interim before Sunday’s win. A 5-year-old mare by the Unbridled stallion Affirmative, Warren’s Veneda has won 6 of 20 starts and earned $467,612.

“If things set up right for her, she’s eligible to run a big race,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he has two races for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles in mind for Warren’s Veneda’s next start – the $400,000 Sam Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 24 or the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes here Feb. 14.

“We’ll see how she trains,” he said. “We know she likes Santa Anita.”