01/04/2015 7:59PM

Well-traveled Shrinking Violet takes Monrovia

Benoit & Associates
Shrinking Violet, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, earns the first graded stakes victory over her career in the Grade 2 Monrovia.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Shrinking Violet has run eight races at as many racetracks across North America in the last 18 months. Regardless of where she appears, she is a threat to win a sprint on turf or synthetic surfaces.

Sunday, the 5-year-old Shrinking Violet won the first graded stakes of her career in the $201,500 Monrovia Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. The Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes was Shrinking Violet’s first start at Santa Anita, third career start in Southern California, and her 12th racing venue in 16 starts.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Shrinking Violet ($22.20) closed on the inside through the stretch to win the Monrovia Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Heat Trap, a 4-1 shot. Velvet Mesquite, the 7-2 favorite, finished third.

Shrinking Violet was timed in 1:12.56. Desormeaux had Shrinking Violet in third or fourth on the hillside. She had sufficient racing room when the field crossed onto the main turf course and took the lead before the eighth pole.

Sky Treasure finished fourth, followed by To My Valentine, Gender Agenda, Biorhythm, Wishing Gate, Warm Breeze, One More, and Judy In Disguise.

Shrinking Violet, owned and trained by Wesley Ward, has been based in Southern California since mid-December ahead of Sunday’s race.

“She’s been a grass and Polytrack horse,” Ward said by phone from Florida moments after the race.

The Monrovia was Shrinking Violet’s fourth start in the last year. In three starts in 2014, she won the Lightning City Stakes over five furlongs on turf at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 25, was eighth in the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes against males at Keeneland in April, and third, beaten a head, in the  Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park on Dec. 6.

Ward said that minor ailments have plagued Shrinking Violet, who is by Congaree.

“I give her a little time between starts,” Ward said. “I kick her out and let her heal naturally. She comes back running.”

Shrinking Violet has won 7 of 16 starts and earned $394,677. The Monrovia was the second stakes win for the mare, who won a $25,000 claiming race for maidens in her fifth career start at Kentucky Downs in September 2012.

Ward said that Shrinking Violet will be sent to Florida, but could return to Santa Anita for the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares on the hillside turf course on April 11.