Venetian Harbor (Munnings) earned her diploma at second asking in her dirt debut in jaw-dropping fashion going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Dec. 29, and passed her first two-turn test with flying colors here.
The bay broke like a shot and the race was pretty much over from there. She ran off by six lengths beneath Flavien Prat through an opening quarter in :23.20, but began to settle much better from there and let the field come back to her through a half mile in :46.72. She left the turn in complete command and poured it on down the lane while under a hand ride to win for fun.
“The plan was to break and just get her to relax,” winning trainer Richard Baltas said. “She's very strong and Flavien did a great job getting her to relax. It looked like at the three eighths pole, we might get passed, but I was just hoping the public was right.”
Baltas continued, “I am happy she got the two turns. That was a bit of a concern today, she had never been two turns and this is a tiring track. She trains at San Luis Rey, she is doing good down there and I didn't want to change anything. She delivered today. She passed the first test.”
A debut second as the even-money favorite finishing ahead of four next out winners in her unveiling sprinting in a very live maiden special weight on grass at Del Mar Nov. 15, she earned a gaudy 94 Beyer Speed Figure next out while scoring by 10 3/4 lengths.
Venetian Harbor becomes the 15th graded /37th black-type winner for Munnings. Four-time winner and multiple stakes- placed Sounds of the City, owned and bred by Rich Santulli's Colts Neck Stables, was bred to Oscar Performance for the 2020 season. Venetian Harbor's fourth dam is the brilliant female sprinter Safely Kept, who famously defeated males in the 1990 GI Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park.
Saturday, Santa Anita
LAS VIRGENES S.-GII, $200,000, Santa Anita, 2-8, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:37.51, ft.
1–VENETIAN HARBOR, 120, f, 3, by Munnings
1st Dam: Sounds of the City (MSP, $293,399), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Welcome Home, by Dixieland Band
3rd Dam: Safe Return, by Mr. Prospector
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN.
($110,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $205,000 RNA 2yo '19 OBSAPR).
O-Ciaglia Racing LLC, Highland Yard & River Oak Farm; B-Colts
Neck Stables LLC (KY); T-Richard Baltas; J-Flavien Prat.
$120,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $163,400. Werk Nick
Rating: D+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Gingham, 120, f, 3, Quality Road–Chapel, by Pulpit.
($420,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP). O-Sarah Kelly & Jane Wiltz; B-Stone
Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $40,000.
3–Stellar Sound, 120, f, 3, Tapit–Siren Serenade, by Unbridled's
Song. O-Don Alberto Stable; B-Don Alberto Corporation (KY);
T-Bob Baffert. $24,000.
Margins: 9 1/4, 2 1/4, 9 1/4. Odds: 0.30, 4.40, 4.90.
Also Ran: Go Big Blue Nation, Cholula Lips.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.