Union Rags Rising Star Crushes Foes in SA Oaks

6th at SA , Gr. Stk, $400,000GI Santa Anita Oaks (1 1/16m)Winner: Paradise Woods, f, 3 by Union Rags

Paradise Woods | Benoit

Saturday, Santa Anita Park
SANTA ANITA OAKS-GI, $400,690, SA, 4-8, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:42.53, ft.
1–#@&PARADISE WOODS, 121, f, 3, by Union Rags
1st Dam: Wild Forest, by Forest Wildcat
2nd Dam: Uforia, by Zilzal
3rd Dam: Long Legend, by Reviewer
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Steven Sarkowsky, Martin J. & Pam
Wygod; B-Herman Sarkowsky (KY); T-Richard E. Mandella;
J-Flavien Prat. $240,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $283,200.
*1/2 to Forest Chatter (Dixie Chatter), SW, $269,545.Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A.
2–Abel Tasman, 124, f, 3, Quality Road–Vargas Girl, by Deputy
Minister. ($65,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-China Horse Club &
Clearsky Farms; B-Clearsky Farms (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $80,000.3–It Tiz Well, 121, f, 3, Arch–It Tiz, by Tiznow. ‘TDN Rising Star’
($230,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Tommy Town Thoroughbreds
LLC; B-Allen & Susan Branch (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer.
$48,000.Also Ran: Mopotism, Majestic Quality, Bernina Star, Princess Karen. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Paradise Woods, named a ‘TDN Rising Star’ after an impressive maiden score last out, went out to the front in the early stages of the GI Santa Anita Oaks and never looked back, crushing a half-dozen foes in a powerhouse performance and signaling herself as a force to be reckoned with in the sophomore filly division.

Well-bet when finishing second after setting the pace on debut here Jan. 26, the bay graduated by open lengths Mar. 11 to earn her Rising Star nod and the door opened for this Grade I try when overwhelming favorite Unique Bella (Tapit) had to be taken out of consideration with a sore shin.

Off sharply at a generous 8-1 in this first two-turn test, Paradise Woods shook off a brief early challenge from Princess Karen (Stay Thirsty) and found herself comfortably in front leading the field onto the backstretch. Clicking off modest splits of :23.46 and :47.35, the bay was moving sweetly while in hand on the far bend as others behind her were under drives. Suddenly putting six lengths on her rivals soon after straightening for home, it was only a question of how far from there, as Paradise Woods coasted under the wire all by herself while wrapped up late. Odds-on favorite Abel Tasman completed the exacta after a difficult trip in her first start for trainer Bob Baffert. The winning margin was the biggest in Santa Anita Oaks history, eclipsing Silver Spoon’s 10-length victory in 1959.

“I’ve always been high on her,” said winning rider Flavien Prat. “From the first time I worked her, I said, ‘That one is really good.’ She’s so smart. If you teach her something she remembers it the next day; it sticks. She’s super small, she’s fast and she has stamina. She’s so good. It’s an honor to rider her, truly.”

Victorious trainer Richard Mandella, who picked up his third Santa Anita Oaks trophy, added, “She looked like she was just cruising out there. At the half mile pole, she was going easy. She took my breath away. It means a lot to win for (Herman) Sarkowsky. He was an owner with me for 38 years. I was thinking of running her short tomorrow in the Santa Paula, but when Unique Bella scratched, I thought we should take a shot. I thought she was as good as these fillies and she showed it today. She is a young filly.She has only had three starts, so we’ll see about the Kentucky Oaks and how things develop. She was really nasty to saddle today, but she ran great.”

Pedigree Notes:

The winner is a half to Forest Chatter (Dixie Chatter), SW, $269,545. Her unraced dam, a half to MGSW Tajaaweed (Dynaformer), foaled a filly by Blame last term before visiting Palace Malice. Second dam Uforia (Zilzal) is a half to MGSW/GISP sire Mr. Greeley (Gone West) and Majestic Legend (His Majesty), the SW second dam of champion Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}). Fourth dam Lianga (Dancer’s Image) was a champion, G1SW and highweight filly in France, and she is the third dam of MG1SW and recently deceased leading sire Danehill Dancer (Ire) (Danehill).


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