Ridden for the first time by leading man Rafael Bejarano, Stormy Lucy, trained by Frank Lucarelli, slipped through at the rail a furlong from home and won Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes going away by 1 ½ lengths, covering 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.11.
A troubled fifth in the Grade II Buena Vista Handicap Feb. 17 under Isaias Enriquez, Stormy Lucy was unhurried early, sitting fifth at the rail going into the far turn, continued to hug the rail turning for home and blasted past pacesetter Nickels Wild a furlong out. The win provided Lucarelli, a rugged right handed pitcher for the Victoria Mussels of the Class Short “A” Northwest League in 1978, with his first graded stakes win at Santa Anita.
“All I told (Bejarano) was, ‘You do the riding, but she’ll go anywhere,’” said Lucarelli. “She’ll go inside, between ‘em, over ‘em. She’s an easy horse to get around there. You’ve just got to find the right spot.
“I’ve won a couple smaller stakes here but this is my first graded win at Santa Anita and I’ve been training for 35 years, ever since I got released in the minor leagues (laughing).”
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Stormy Atlantic, Stormy Lucy was off at 9-2 in a field of seven older fillies and mares and paid $11.00, $4.80 $3.40.
“It was my first time on her,” said Bejarano. “Today was perfect. She broke well and I got great position. I got through on the rail and she came flying.”
Owned by Erica Gaunt, Stormy Lucy won for the sixth time in 21 starts and picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $392,200.
Emotional Kitten, idle since winning the Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs, followed the winner into the far turn but was caught four wide and finished well to be second with Victor Espinoza, one length in front of Miss Serendipity and Brice Blanc.
Trained by Wesley Ward, Emotional Kitten was the second choice at 4-1 and paid $4.20 and $3.00.
Trained by Ron McAnally and ridden for the first time by Brice Blanc, Argentine-bred Miss Serendipity relaxed well in her third stateside start, sitting a comfortable third into the far turn and was one-paced to the wire, finishing third, a head in front of 4-5 favorite Emollient and Mike Smith.
Miss Serendipity paid $5.00 to show.
Trained by Bill Mott, Emollient, who had been idle since running a big fourth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, sat a close second to Nickels Wild through fractions of 24.95, 48.56, 1:12.11 and 1:35.69, but could never put a head in front and was nailed right on the money for the show.
“It was her first race back,” said Smith, who had ridden her in her last six starts. “She was a little eager in the wrong place. Honestly, that’s all it was. She still ran well and I think she got a lot out of it.”
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.
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