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Top News in Sunday's TDN
Stevens Has 'Hot' Hand in Santa Maria
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4th at SAXGII Santa Maria S. ($200K)  [1 1/16m]Winner: Great Hot (Brz), m, 5 by Orientate
Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA MARIA S.-GII, $200,000, SAX, 2-16, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:43, ft.
1--GREAT HOT (BRZ), 118, m, 5, by Orientate
        1st Dam: That's Hot, by Seeking the Gold
        2nd Dam: Catchy, by Storm Cat
        3rd Dam: Island Kitty, by Hawaii
O/B-Coudelaria Jessica (Brz); T-A C Avila; J-Gary L Stevens. $120,000. Lifetime Record: MGSW & MGISP, 21-5-3-5, $537,927. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Book Review, 118, f, 4, Giant’s Causeway--Clever Babe, by Distorted Humor. O/B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $40,000.
3--Lady of Fifty, 123, f, 4, After Market--K. D.'s Shady Lady, by Maria's Mon. ($40,000 yrl '10 KEESEP). O-Jerry Hollendorfer & George Todaro; B-Clover Leaf Farms II Inc (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer. $24,000.
Margins: HF, 3 3/4, HF. Odds: 9.40, 1.10, 3.40.
Also Ran: Snow Fall, Private Affair (Per).
Scratches: Going for a Spin.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.
   It must be nice being Gary Stevens. The Hall of Fame pilot has only been out of retirement for some six weeks, and he’s already won two graded stakes. He nursed Slim Shadey (GB) (Val Royal {Fr}) along on the front end to take the turfy GII San Marcos S. a week earlier, and employed similar tactics here on the main track. Great Hot had last found the winner’s circle in the 2011 GII Raven Run S. at Keeneland, but the veteran’s touch and the addition of blinkers did the trick this time.   
   The highlight of the homebred’s 2012 campaign was a track-and-trip second-place effort behind Eclipse finalist Include Me Out (Include) in the GII La Canada S. last January, but she could do better than ninth in the GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint here Nov. 3. Third behind next-out winners Teddy’s Promise (Salt Lake) and Snow Fall (War Front) in the Dec. 29 Kalookan Queen S., she was stretched back out to finish fourth here behind Snow Fall in the Jan. 13 Pasaena H.
   Allowed her head by Stevens to establish command after breaking from the rail, Great Hot settled nicely into rhythm as she faced little resistance through splits of :23.94, :48.19 and 1:12.11. Favored GI La Brea S. winner Book Review tipped out to confront the pacesetter entering the straight, but Stevens exuded confidence, and never bothered going to the whip as his mount bounded to victory.
   "It was so sweet," Stevens said of his trip. "I moved her out about three wide and she just shut it down and was listening to my commands all the way around. I was just being a passenger until the head of the stretch." Of his hot hand in recent weeks, the 49-year-old said, "It feels good. I’ve had that feeling before. I guess that’s why I came back, I had that feeling, and I wanted it again."
   Winning conditioner A.C. Avila, who said he will point Great Hot to the nine-furlong GI Santa Margarita S. here Mar. 16, was quick to praise Stevens.
   "Gary got the breaks," he said. "Nobody wins 5,000 races for no reason. I put the blinkers on to give her more focus. He spoke to me yesterday, I said, ‘I’m going to do one thing. I’m going to give you a leg up and you are the boss.’ How am I going to tell Gary Stevens how to ride?"

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