Bred to win a championship, As Times Goes By looked as if she might be a serious contender for one by season’s end with an authoritative triumph in the $200,000 Santa Margarita S. (G2) at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Breaking on top and setting the pace while second choice Harvest Moon applied only mild pressure right behind her, As Time Goes By said bye-bye to that rival around the far turn and was on cruise control to the wire under Mike Smith.
“She jumped really quick out of there and she fell into stride so nice. I just stayed out of her way,” Smith said.
The winning margin was 9 1/4 lengths for the four-year-old daughter of American Pharoah and the multiple Grade 1-winning Take Charge Lady, a daughter of Dehere who’s also reared 2013 champion three-year-old colt Will Take Charge and Grade 1 winner Take Charge Indy. Take Charge Lady is also the second dam of juvenile filly champion Take Charge Brandi and multiple Grade 1 scorer Omaha Beach.
Owned by the Coolmore connections of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, As Time Goes By paid $3.20 after completing 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.45. This Tea caught Harvest Moon for second by 2 1/4 lengths. It was a long way behind Harvest Moon to Pharoah’s Heart and Clockstrikestwelve.
The Santa Margarita was the sixth lifetime start for As Times Goes By, who debuted only last August. After dropping her first outings, As Times Goes By beat maiden and allowance foes by open lengths in her next two starts. Her stakes debut, in the March 13 Beholder Mile (G1), resulted in a second-place finish behind champion Swiss Skydiver.
“I knew the older she gets, the better she’s going to get,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “Mike is so great with these good mares; he gets the most out of them.
“I wanted to develop her slowly because the Breeders’ Cup is the main goal. She’s sweet like her sire, she’s the sweetest thing in the barn. I have a soft spot for her because I think of American Pharoah every time I walk by her stall.”
Bred in Kentucky by Orpendale and Chelston, As Time Goes By has now bankrolled $260,600.