LAS VIRGENES STAKES | PURSE: $250,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 1 | ONE-MILE
ARCADIA, Calif.-- There is more to Eden's Moon than her new status as a Grade 1 winner in Saturday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita.
"She's getting better and better," trainer Bob Baffert said. "She's not a polished horse."
Eden's Moon ($7) looked bright in the Las Virgenes, winning her stakes debut by 3 1/4 lengths over 6-5 favorite Reneesgotzip. Eden's Moon gave owner Kaleem Shah of Virginia his first career Grade 1 win.
The Las Virgenes was the fourth winner of Saturday's program for Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia. The race was not without a moment of drama. In early stretch, Reneesgotzip and Eden's Moon made contact before Eden's Moon pulled clear.
Peter Miller, who trains Reneesgotzip, objected to the result. Jockey Corey Nakatani who rode Reneesgotzip, said his mount was struck in the face by Garcia's whip. A head-on view of the replay did not clearly show Reneesgotzip being struck by Garcia's whip, although the two fillies certainly made contact.
Miller was frustrated that he had to call an objection and that the stewards did not call an inquiry.
Eden's Moon led throughout the Las Virgenes, running a mile in 1:35.27.
Garcia had Reneesgotzip in front by a half-length through early fractions of 23.16 and 46.47 seconds, closely tracked by Reneesgotzip, who drifted wide on the first turn. Those two fillies pulled clear through the stretch. Reneesgotzip finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of 31-1 Open Water, who was making her stakes debut.
Eden's Moon, by Malibu Moon, lost a maiden race over six furlongs to Reneesgotzip at Hollywood Park in December and rebounded to win a maiden race over a mile by 11 1/2 lengths on Jan. 8. She has earned $192,600 in her three-race career.
Baffert and Shah said the $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4 is a goal for Eden's Moon, who could start in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on March 31.