03/22/2015 6:21PM

Wild in the Saddle wins first stakes in Dream of Summer

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Wild in the Saddle wins the Dream of Summer Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths Sunday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Wild in the Saddle, the former $5,000 claimer, won her first stakes in her 34th career start in Sunday’s $98,000 Dream of Summer Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita.

Wild in the Saddle ($3.40) had an ideal trip to win the one-mile dirt race. Jockey Rafael Bejarano had Wild in the Saddle behind the pacesetter Sudden Sunday for the first-half-mile, took the lead with a quarter-mile remaining, and pulled away to win by a convincing 6 1/4 lengths.

Wild in the Saddle was timed in 1:36.73. A 6-year-old mare by Silic, Wild in the Saddle was expected to take the lead, a strategy Bejarano changed in the race, according to David Meah, assistant to trainer Richard Baltas.

“We were going to go, and when that other horse took the lead, it was perfect to be second,” Meah said.

Melanistic finished second, giving Baltas’s stable a sweep of the first two positions. Grazenette was third, followed by Sudden Sunday. The race had only four runners after the scratches Sunday morning of Anniversary Kitty and Sweet Marini.

Baltas missed Sunday’s race. He is in Dubai preparing Big Macher for the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse.

Wild in the Saddle races for Nadine Anderson and Cheyenne Ortiz and has eight career wins and earnings of $289,318. She beat maidens in a $30,000 claimer at Santa Anita in her eighth career start in March 2012, and later that year, she won a $5,000 claimer at 4 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos.

Wild in the Saddle was sent to Baltas’s stable last year and has won 3 of 6 starts under his direction. She was third in the Orange County Stakes at six furlongs at Los Alamitos last September.

Meah said the filly’s mental approach has changed in the last year.

“She’s relaxed in her training, and that’s a big help,” Meah said.