Given the amount of rain in the forecast, Santa Anita officials proactively decided to cancel live racing for Saturday. The scheduled feature, the $200,000 La Canada (G3), was redrawn for Sunday. The same sextet of fillies and mares signed on again, led by the Bob Baffert pair of Ganadora and Under the Stars, with only their post positions scrambled.
La Canada (G3) – Race 7 (6:30 p.m. ET)
Ganadora and Under the Stars are exiting unplaced efforts in the Dec. 26 La Brea (G1), where they finished fifth and seventh, respectively. While both are eligible to rebound as they stretch back out to 1 1/16 miles, Ganadora might have a stronger case as the less exposed of the two. The $1 million Quality Road filly won three of her first four starts, highlighted by an eight-length romp in the Sept. 18 Dark Mirage S. going a mile at Los Alamitos. The cutback into the cauldron of the La Brea didn’t pan out, but Ganadora could be in her comfort zone here with a returning John Velazquez. She’ll break from the middle of the field in post 3.
Under the Stars isn’t the most consistent type overall, but she’s tended to do well at this trip. The three-quarter sister to Bodemeister boasts a course-and-distance win in the Summertime Oaks (G2), leaving Ganadora behind in a dead-heat fourth with Kirstenbosch. Previously a close second in the Santa Ysabel (G3), Under the Stars arguably would have finished better than fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) if she hadn’t stumbled terribly at the start. The Coolmore runner is tactically drawn in post 6 with Juan Hernandez.
The other La Brea alumna, Kirstenbosch, performed much better as a rallying third. The John Sadler pupil was coming off a second in the Zia Park Oaks at that time, and reverting to her usual route figures to help. Kazushi Kimura retains the mount on the rail.
British import Natural Colour is intriguing in her dirt debut, considering that sire Exceed and Excel can get runners with that aptitude. Class is perhaps the bigger question for the turf/synthetic stakes performer on the Northern California circuit. But she picks up Flavien Prat.
Angel Nadeshiko makes her stakes debut for Paddy Gallager, a 17% trainer in the turf-to-dirt category, and the 2-for-35 Cal-bred Smoothlikebuttah rounds out the field.