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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes comes our way from Santa Anita in Arcadia, California this Sunday, January 4. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for fillies and mares four years old and upward willing to go 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf track.
A deep and competitive field of 12 older females will take part in the Monrovia Stakes - race 8 on Santa Anita's Sunday card. Post time is 4:00 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all 12 combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
Gender Agenda - British bred Carla Gaines trainee has two wins, three seconds and two thirds in 11 career starts - a win, two seconds and a fourth place finish in four North American starts. Last time out was that respectable fourth - in her graded stakes debut - the Grade 1 Matriarch at Del Mar November 30 which followed consecutive seconds in minor stakes action - the Kathryn Crosby Stakes November 78 and the Unzip Me Stakes here September 27. Gender Agenda has been competitive in all her North American starts and hopes for more of the same Sunday. Tyler Baze rides from post 5.
Wishing Gate - Thomas Proctor trained filly had five starts in 2014 - a fifth as favorite in the minor Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, a fourth in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine at Santa Anita June 28, an OK second after leading nearly the whole way in the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar August 10 and two off-the board finishes. Last time out was a fifth in the restricted Kathryn Crosby Stakes November 17 which followed a sixth in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap in September. She now has four wins and four seconds in 16 career starts. Wishing Gate was at her best in 2013 when won the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes, had a second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and a good win in her stakes debut - the Grade 2 San Clemente at 5-1 odds. She has placed in just one of her last six starts however and will try to erase the memory of a disappointing 2014 campaign. Gary Stevens will be in charge of the most accomplished entry in just her second career sprint from post 7.
Velvet Mesquite - will make her graded stakes debut Sunday after 10 career starts yielded five wins and two second place finishes. She enters off a second as 2-1 favorite in the minor Senator Ken Maddy Stakes here November 1 and a win in the minor California Distaff Handicap also on this track in October. She has won two of her last four starts and three of her last six and looks ready for her step up in competition. Velvet Mesquite has won an impressive five of six starts on this unique turf track and should be competitive again Sunday. Mike Smith will be in the saddle from the outside post.
Biorhythm - Tom Proctor trained mare has 12 career starts with four wins, a second and two third place finishes. She has just one graded stakes start which resulted in a fourth in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Stakes here last April and has placed in three of five starts since. Last time out was a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming November 21 after a win in a similar race here in October. Biorhythm will try for her first stakes win Saturday having posted two wins and a second place finish in her last three starts on this track. Drayden Van Dyke rides from gate 8.
Sky Treasure - Mark Casse trained filly has 11 career starts with three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes - a win, a second and a third in six starts last year. She was a good second in the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine July 27 and followed that with an Allowance Optional Claiming score August 22 - also on that track August 22. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes at Woodbine in November which followed a fourth in the minor Buffalo Trace Franklin Country Stakes at Keeneland October 10. She has placed in three of her last four starts overall (two graded stakes) and looks OK ahead of this weekend. Corey Nakatani will get the call from gate 10.
Judy In Disguise - Simon Callahan trained British bred mare has five wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts. She was at her best in 2013 with two wins to start the year including the minor Sweet Life Stakes here and has been up and down since. She finished third in the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland in April, was fifth in the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar in July, was third in the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes and ended her year with consecutive seconds. Judy In Disguise was out of racing nearly a year before returning November 28 to an Allowance score - a result she hopes to duplicate in her first graded stakes race in 14 months. Joe Talamo gets the mount from post 11.
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Heat Trap - has four wins, four seconds and a third place finish for trainer Carla Gaines - Sunday marks her graded stakes debut. Last time out was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar November 21 after a win in a similar race on this track October 30 and another runner-up finish in the minor California Distaff Handicap October 11. She looks ready for her step up in class and will have Victor Espinoza in the reins from gate 4.
Warm Breeze - Simon Callahan trained filly has 14 career starts with just three wins, a second and a third place finish. She was OK earlier this year in graded stakes company - a fourth in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes here in March was followed by a third in the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs in May. Since that time she has finished fourth in three straight races - an Allowance at Del Mar November 28, the minor Senator Ken Maddy Stakes November 1 and the minor Roxelana Stakes in June. She looks for her first stakes win with Kieren Fallon aboard from post 6.
One More - Doug O'Neill pupil won two straight races on this track against lesser competition to start 2014 and followed that with a respectable third in her stakes debut - the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes here in April. She followed that with a fifth in the Grade 3 Honeymoon Stakes here in May - the last time we saw her. One More lines up in post 9 with Mario Gutierrez in the irons in her first race in eight months.
Shrinking Violet - Wesley Ward trained filly has placed in 10 of 15 career starts - six wins, a second and three third place finishes. She enters having won four of her last seven starts overall but has yet to win a graded stakes race. She won the minor Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs a year ago and she did have a second in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion Stakes at Woodbine in November, 2013 - her best results to date. Shrinking Violet is coming off a third in the minor Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park and an eighth in the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland in April. She looks for her first graded stakes score from the rail with Kent Desormeaux aboard.
To My Valentine - French bred Wesley Ward trained filly will race for the first time since a distant tenth in the minor Smart and Fancy Stakes at Saratoga in August which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Belmont Park in July. She was at her best in the summer of 2013 when she won the minor Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint and an Allowance Optional Claiming but has placed in just one of her last four starts overall. Not a whole lot is expected when she leaves from post 2 with Fernando Hernandez Perez in the saddle.
Baruta - Brazilian bred Richard Mandella trained mare had runner-up finished in her first six starts in North America - all Allowance races. She followed that with a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here October 9 and an Allowance optional Claiming score last time out at Del Mar November 28. She has three wins, six seconds and two third place finishes in 14 career starts but jumps into stakes company for the first time Sunday. Tiago Josue Pereira has the call from post 3.
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