Sweet Azteca, Kinza win stakes at Santa Anita – Press Enterprise

Jockey Flavien Prat guides Sweet Azteca to the winner’s circle after their victory in the Beholder Mile on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Santa Anita. (Benoit Photo)

During Women’s History Month, Santa Anita had a fillies-with-a-future day.

Four-year-old Sweet Azteca won her first graded stakes with a front-running upset of Adare Manor in the $300,000, Grade I Beholder Mile on Sunday, about an hour after 3-year-old Kinza stayed undefeated with a gate-to-finish romp in the $100,000, Grade III Santa Ysabel.

It was less expected for Michael McCarthy-trained Sweet Azteca, who paid $8.80 by jumping from an optional-claiming-level sprinting victory to win under Flavien Prat, the third win in four starts for the daughter of Sharp Azteca.

“She has come a long way,” McCarthy said.

Adare Manor, even-money favorite in the first start of her 5-year-old season, closed late but came up three-quarters of a length short.

It was never in doubt for Kinza, who paid $3 led all the way with jockey Juan Hernandez to beat maiden Where’s My Ring by five lengths, giving trainer Bob Baffert his fourth Santa Ysabel win in a row and ninth overall.

“She is just a naturally gifted speed horse,” Baffert said.

Next for the West’s leading 3-year-old fillies is the April 6 Santa Anita Oaks.

In Santa Anita‘s third graded stakes Saturday, Mucho Del Oro and Hernandez led from early in the about-6 1/2-furlong race down the turf hillside to win the $100,000, Grade III San Simeon by X lengths over Dancing Buck, with favorite Lane way third.

That was the first graded stakes victory for Mucho Del Oro ($7.80), a 6-year-old gelding who was claimed last June for $50,000 by trainer Doug O’Neill.

On the Derby trail

Domestic Product and jockey Tyler Gaffalione won the $400,000, Grade III Tampa Bay Derby in a blanket finish over No More Time and Grand Mo the First.

Domestic Product and No More Time jumped into the top 10 in Kentucky Derby qualifying points with the biggest round of prep races still to come. They were second and first on the morning line for Saturday’s race, which was run without betting because of trouble with the tote system.


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