Fresh off a facile win going one mile on turf in an ungraded stakes, Gary Barber's Laura's Light cuts back in distance and heads a field of eight sophomore fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf in the Grade III, $100,000 Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, February 16.
Prominent in a competitive lineup, trainer John Sadler's Irish-bred Shines Her Light was an impressive maiden winner over the course in her U.S. debut Feb. 1, Phil D'Amato's Blue Sky Baby has run well in all three of her starts and Simon Callaghan's Lighthouse, well beaten by Laura's Light at a mile on turf, shortens up to what may be her preferred distance.
||Blue Sky Baby
||Shines Her Light (IRE)
||Drayden Van Dyke
A Kentucky-bred daughter of red-hot sire Constitution, she was a first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields Nov. 2 and in her first start for Barber and Miller, went to the lead and tired late to finish second in the Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes at one mile over the Del Mar turf Nov. 30.
Subsequently the 5-2 favorite in the one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes here Dec. 29, she led throughout while registering an emphatic 3 1/4 length win. With Abel Cedillo engaged for the third consecutive time, Laura's Light is strictly the one to beat as she seeks her third win from four starts.
Owner: Gary Barber | Trainer: Peter Miller
SHINES HER LIGHT
Dismissed at 13-1 in a field of 11 here on Feb. 1, this Irish-bred was handled confidently by Umberto Rispoli and rallied from off the pace to break her maiden by three quarters of a length. Although winless in five starts in Ireland, she tipped her hand in her fourth start on Sept. 18, running a close second in a field of 20, which included males, going one mile on turf.
With Rispoli back aboard for the Sweet Life, Shines Her Light will likely employ the same stalking style in her first graded stakes assignment.
Owner: Zhang Yuesheng | Trainer: John Sadler
BLUE SKY BABY
A first-out maiden winner over the course and distance Oct. 19, this filly by Pioneerof the Nile sat second for most of the trip while finishing third, beaten 3 ¾ lengths by Laura's Light in the one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes on Dec. 29.
Sent to the front in a one mile turf allowance Jan. 31, she finished a close fourth under Mario Gutierrez and will be reunited on Sunday with Flavien Prat, who was up for her maiden victory.
Owner: Michael Lombardi & Joey Platts | Trainer: Phil D'Amato
Purchased for $375,000 at an Ocala, Florida 2-year-old in training sale last April, this Kentucky-bred filly by Mizzen Mast brings an abundance of speed to the Sweet Life party.
Third in her five furlong debut as the 4-5 favorite here Oct. 10, she made every pole a winning one in breaking her maiden by 1 1/4 lengths going five furlongs on turf Nov. 17 at Del Mar.
Off at 8-1 in the one mile Blue Norther Dec. 29, she never threatened while finishing seventh, beaten 5 1/2 lengths. With Drayden Van Dyke back aboard for a third consecutive time, Lighthouse figures to improve with the cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs.
Owner: LNJ Foxwoods | Trainer: Simon Callaghan