Multiple grade I winner Emollient has burned plenty of money in her two starts this year, but she'll attempt to regain her winning form with a return to Santa Anita Park for the $300,000 Gamely Stakes Memorial Day, May 26.
Trained by Hall of Fame member Bill Mott, the Juddmonte Farms homebred star ships back to Southern California from Saratoga Race Course. She has been training there since a third-place finish as the 7-10 favorite in the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes April 18 on the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Emollient began the year with a fourth-place effort in the Santa Ana Stakes over the Santa Anita sod as the 4-5 choice March 16. That was her first start since running fourth after setting the pace in last fall's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf over the same Santa Anita course.
The 4-year-old Empire Maker filly proved her quality last year with three grade I triumphs last year-one on turf and two others on Polytrack-while finishing the season with four victories in eight starts and earnings of $972,100.
Mott has engaged Rosie Napravnik for a rare Southern California appearance in the grassy 1 1/8-mile Gamely, which attracted a solid lineup of nine older fillies and mares. Emollient, who prefers to race near the front, drew post 8 and is the 121-pound co-highweight along with Argentina grade I winner Miss Serendipity. They spot the remainder of the well-matched field two pounds apiece.
The Gamely, long an important race at shuttered Hollywood Park that began in 1973, will be contested for the first time at Santa Anita. It is the seventh of nine races on the Monday holiday program with a 4:30 p.m. PDT scheduled post.
Stormy Lucy defeated Emollient in the nine-furlong Santa Ana when she came from off the pace to win going away in an upset. The 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare then returned to capture the Santa Barbara Stakes at 1 1/4 miles by a neck over Miss Serendipity April 13. Ed Moger Jr. trains Stormy Lucy for his brother, Steve Moger. Joe Talamo gains the mount from post 3, replacing the injured Rafael Bejarano.
Matias Cavalieri's Miss Serendipity is yet to break through in four stakes starts locally this season since transferring from South America to Hall of Fame conditioner Ron McAnally, but she continues to show improvement. The 6-year-old daughter of Not For Sale, third in the Santa Ana before her big effort in the Santa Barbara, could be primed for a break-out performance. Brice Blanc returns to ride her from post 6.
Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor look for consecutive wins in the Gamely with Customer Base, a year after a game head triumph by Marketing Mix over Tiz Flirtatious. Customer Base won the Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 29 in an all-out effort by a nose over Stormy Lucy. But she has gone sour in her two most recent starts, including a troubled eighth last time in the Santa Barbara. She leaves from the rail with Mike Smith aboard.
Another with a big shot here is Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Pennsylvania homebred Emotional Kitten. She invaded from Kentucky to run second in the Santa Ana, then returned to her home base at Keeneland for trainer Wesley Ward to run a close fourth in the Jenny Wiley Stakes April 12. She was second by a half length to Emollient in last year's American Oaks at Hollywood. Victor Espinoza has the return call.
Jerry Hollendorfer, who won the 2010 Gamely with Tuscan Evening, is represented by Parranda, a five-time winner from her past seven starts including a convincing tally in the one-mile Wilshire Stakes April 27. That was the first start for Hollendorfer for the recently purchased 5-year-old English Channel mare previously trained in Florida by Rodolfo Garcia.
Irish-bred Premier Steps, third in the Wilshire for Proctor, Changethechannel, third in the Santa Barbara for trainer Sean McCarthy, and British-import Rhagori, trying stakes company for the first time in four U.S. starts for trainer Simon Callaghan, complete the field. Callaghan won the Gamely in 2011 with Dubawi Heights and again the following year with Belle Royale.