June 24, 2024

Adare Manor joins exclusive company with Santa Margarita repeat

Adare Manor romps in the Santa Margarita
Adare Manor emulated Hall of Famers Bayakoa and Paseana by winning the Santa Margarita twice (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Sunday’s $196,000 Santa Margarita (G2) might as well have been over when the field passed the wire for the first time, and defending champion Adare Manor already strode to an easy lead. From that point on, jockey Juan Hernandez enjoyed the proverbial armchair ride, and the 1-20 favorite coasted into the record book alongside some famous names as a two-time winner of the Santa Anita feature.

Santa Margarita (G2)

Although Bayakoa (1989-90) was the most recent to take her Santa Margaritas back-to-back, fellow Argentine-bred Hall of Famer – and Ron McAnally trainee – Paseana later won her trophies in non-consecutive years (1992 and 1994). Previous distaffers to win twice are Our Betters (1956-57), Curious Clover (1964-65), and Chilean import *Tizna (1974-75). *Tizna is often seen in pedigrees as the ancestress of Cee’s Tizzy (sire of the great Tiznow) and Japanese star Kitasan Black.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Petersen, Adare Manor was once again entering the Santa Margarita off a sensational victory. But her conquest of the April 13 Apple Blossom H. (G1) at Oaklawn Park was more significant than last year’s stepping stone, the Santa Maria (G2). The daughter of Uncle Mo proved that she could win on the road, after failing to do so earlier in her career.

Back home at Santa Anita Sunday, Adare Manor faced only three rivals who appeared overmatched on paper. Once the statuesque dark bay broke cleanly from the outside post, and deployed her massive stride, the others were up against it.

The 6.50-1 second choice, Super Shine, had finished a game runner-up to Coffee in Bed in her U.S. debut in the April 21 renewal of the Santa Maria. Bettors expected the Argentinean to turn the tables on Coffee in Bed, the 10-1 third pick, but she apparently regressed from her big effort off the layoff.

Super Shine stalked Adare Manor through steady fractions of :23.65, :48.77, and 1:12.97, only to come up empty on the far turn. Hennys Crazy Train, the 26-1 longshot, tried to chase, and Coffee in Bed began to improve position from last of the quartet.

The improvement was all relative, though, as Adare Manor was widening her margin under a hand ride. Almost duplicating her 4 1/2-length decision from a year ago, she had 4 1/4 lengths to spare at the wire. Her time was a much slower 1:50.86 (versus 1:49.79) for 1 1/8 miles, perhaps a reflection of the fact that she didn’t have her 2023 foe Desert Dawn hovering down the backstretch.

Coffee in Bed overhauled Hennys Crazy Train by a half-length for second. Super Shine, who was a bit hard to handle once retreating in upper stretch, ultimately wound up trailing by a further 10 lengths. Blue Dream Machine was a vet scratch.

“She broke really sharp out of the gate,” Hernandez recapped. “I didn’t ask her, I just let her go. She loves to run behind the pace, but today I was the pace, so she wanted to go. I let her go. She was a little aggressive out of the gate, she relaxed took a breath, and just kept on going.

“Today, she just was trying to go a little earlier. She was trying to take off around the five-eighths pole, so I had to hold her for a little while. At the quarter pole she switched leads and just kept going. I didn’t mess too much with her today because it wasn’t necessary. Great training from Bob.”

Adare Manor has bankrolled $1,856,600 from her 17-9-5-0 line. The five-year-old has won seven of her last nine starts, including the 2023 Clement L. Hirsch (G1) and Zenyatta (G2) along with the aforementioned Santa Maria, Apple Blossom, and now two editions of the Santa Margarita. Her losses in that span were a seventh in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and a staying-on second in her reappearance, the March 9 Beholder Mile (G1).

While Adare Manor is the queen of the West Coast division, the question remains whether she can defend her home court better in the 2024 Breeders’ Cup. Champion Idiomatic will likely spearhead the invasion from back East again, and Adare Manor must improve to cope.

Yet it’s possible that the big mare is only now reaching the peak of her physical powers. Adare Manor flashed potential at three when romping in the 2022 Las Virgenes (G3), but she didn’t deliver in her ensuing starts that season. Overturned at odds-on in both the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) and Black-Eyed Susan (G2), she later flopped in the Cotillion (G1). Adare Manor developed into a stronger specimen at four, and if she makes a similar progression at five, she might become a greater threat in the Distaff at Del Mar.

Bred by Town & Country Horse Farms and Gary Broad in Kentucky, the dark bay went to her current connections for $375,000 as an OBS Summer juvenile. Adare Manor was produced by Grade 3 scorer Brooklynsway, a Giant Gizmo mare.

Her immediate family is obscure, but ultimately traces to the blue hen *Rough Shod II via Gambetta. Gambetta’s celebrated daughter, Hall of Famer Gamely, won the Santa Margarita in 1968.

Daytona (G3)

Santa Anita’s other stakes on Sunday, the $102,000 Daytona (G3), was a much more contentious affair of the downhill turf sprint genre. But it too furnished a front-running winner in the 11-1 Mucho del Oro, who got clear through splits of :21.87 and :43.54 and held on determinedly under Kyle Frey.

First Peace, the 7-5 favorite, was wrestled back early before rallying to come up a half-length short. Almendares and Johnny Podres closed to round out the superfecta. Comebacker Whatmakessammyrun chased but tired to eighth in the nine-horse field. Air Force Red scratched in favor of Monday’s Shoemaker Mile (G1).

Purple Rein Racing’s Mucho del Oro clocked about 6 1/2 furlongs on the firm course in 1:11.37 and returned $24.80. The Doug O’Neill charge has compiled a record of 19-10-2-0, $421,100, reflecting a course-and-distance tally in the March 9 San Simeon (G3) as well as a near-miss in the Jan. 28 Clocker’s Corner S. The former claimer also captured the 2022 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile H. for trainer Vladimir Cerin.

Mucho Del Oro is a Mucho Macho Man half-brother to Funtastic Again, who runs in the Shoemaker Mile. They are out of Repeta, a Broken Vow mare from the family of Grade 2 hero Judge T C.