November 27, 2021

Ain’t Easy romps in Chandelier; Lieutenant Dan best in Eddie D

Ain't Easy wins the Chandelier at Santa Anita (Horsephotos.com)

Ain’t Easy made it look easy for the second time in as many starts when authoritatively taking Friday’s $201,000 Chandelier S. (G2), one of four stakes on opening day of the Santa Anita fall meet.

Under Joel Rosario, Ain’t Easy sped clear down the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths, six weeks after recording a 5 1/4-length victory in her 5 1/2-furlong debut at Del Mar on Aug. 21.

The Chandelier victory earned Ain’t Easy an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 5, as well as 10 qualifying points toward the 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Rating within a length of pacesetter Electric Ride while racing inside that rival down the backside, Ain’t Easy bid for the lead on the far turn, seized it, and proceeded to open up on her overmatched rivals.

“She acted very professional sitting behind horses. When Joel wanted to, she came up the inside, which I like to see with a young horse. She looked like she was having fun in the stretch,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “I like everything I saw here.”

Owned by Old Bones Racing Stable, Michael Lombardi, and Joey Platts, Ain’t Easy covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:45.20. She returned $9 as the 7-2 second choice.

Electric Ride finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Desert Dawn, who was followed by Censorship, 9-10 favorite Grace Adler, Dance to the Music, and Elm Drive. Electric Ride and Desert Dawn earned four and two Kentucky Oaks qualifying points, respectively.

Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Ain’t Easy is by Into Mischief and out of the Fastnet Rock mare Ameristralia, who was Group 3-placed in Australia. This is the family of Grade 1 winner Cupid.

Sold for $400,000 at Keeneland September, Ain’t Easy has now bankrolled $162,000.

Eddie D S. (G2)

Lieutenant Dan likes to win and, if he doesn’t, likes to hit the board. Those attributes could serve the California-bred well ahead of next month’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) following his half-length win in the $202,000 Eddie D S. (G2) under Geovanni Franco.

The Eddie D marked the return to racing on Santa Anita’s hillside turf for the first time in more than two years, and provided Lieutenant Dan with his third win in a row since returning from a near 14-month layoff this summer.

Stalking in third while racing three wide down the hill, Lieutenant Dan took over from pacesetter Charmaine’s Mia crossing the main track. Opening up two lengths in mid-stretch, the 5-2 favorite had just enough to fend off the late bids of Snapper Sinclair and Chaos Theory, who were separated by a neck at the wire. The order of finish was rounded out by Gregorian Chant, Mesut, Caribou Club, Whisper Not, Charmaine’s Mia, and Law Abidin Citizen.

Owned and bred by Nick Alexander, and trained by Steve Miyadi, Lieutenant Dan paid $7 after covering about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.74 on firm ground.

A three-time stakes winner against California-breds in 2019-20, Lieutenant Dan has faced, and beaten, open company exclusively since his return from the aforementioned layoff on July 23. Victorious against second-level allowance foes that day, he returned to win the Aug. 22 Green Flash H. (G3) by 2 1/4 lengths. Both races were over five furlongs at Del Mar, the Turf Sprint course and distance. His record now stands at 16-8-3-4, $663,740.

By Grazen, Lieutenant Dan is the only stakes winner produced to date by Excusabull, a daughter of Indian Charlie. Lieutenant Dan’s fourth dam was a half-sister to 1967 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Damascus.