SANTA MARGARITA S. | PURSE: $350,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | FILLIES AND MARES | GRADE 1 | 1 1/8-MILES
Let Faith Arise avenged two earlier losses during the Santa Anita winter meet with a game score in the Grade 1, $350,500 Santa Margarita on Saturday. Runner-up to Spellbound in the January 19 Santa Monica and Iotapa in the February 15 Santa Maria, Let Faith Arise turned back those rivals and four others to notch the 1 1/8-mile heat, the premier race for older fillies and mares during the winter session at "The Great Race Place."
Under Corey Nakatani, Let Faith Arise unexpectedly dueled with Fiftyshadesofhay through the opening six furlongs, exchanging leads through splits of :23 2/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 3/5. Regaining a narrow advantage at the top of the stretch while between that rival and 7-5 favorite Iotapa, Let Faith Arise opened up on the latter approaching the wire and finished 1 3/4 lengths clear in a time of 1:48 3/5 over a fast track.
Let Faith Arise, a Kentucky homebred racing for Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, paid $10.60 as the 4-1 third choice.
"He (Corey Nakatani) got off good and stayed there, so that was the right thing to do," Hollendorfer said. "We didn't really expect to be on the front end, but since she broke well, Corey let her run and keep running. That was the right decision, obviously. It was pretty hard to take back when she got the lead easy.
"It's good to win a Grade 1 with her. We'll regroup here and pick another race. It might be here or might be back east."
Iotapa held off a late challenge from Stanwyck to grab runner-up honors by a half-length. Spellbound was 2 1/2 lengths behind Stanwyck in fourth and was followed by Yahilwa, Fiftyshadesofhay, and Macha. Miss Serendipity was scratched in favor of Sunday's Santa Ana on the turf.
Victorious in three of her first five outings, all over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, Let Faith Arise captured her dirt debut in the $58,050 California Wine, a six-furlong stakes at Pleasanton, last June. She preceded her aforementioned losses in the Santa Monica and Santa Maria with an eighth-place effort in the November 2 Senator Ken Maddy, her only attempt on turf thus far. Her record now stands at 10-5-2-1, $
A daughter of the Grade 3-placed Babe Hall, by El Corredor, Let Faith Arise hails from the extended family of Grade 1 winner Danger's Hour and his Group 3-winning half-brother Stonehatch.