KEEPER OFTHE STARS SPRINTS HOME TO WIN GRADE I, $300,000 GAMELY STAKES BY 1 ¼ LENGTHS AS CEDILLO BAGS HIS FOURTH WINNER OF THE DAY; TRAINED BY WONG, SHE GETS 1 1/8 MILES ON TURF IN 1:46.43
BASED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, WONG REGISTERS FIRST-EVER GRADE I WIN
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2020)–Attentive to the pace throughout, Keeper Ofthe Stars took command turning for home and sprinted the length of the Santa Anita stretch to take Monday’s Grade I, 300,000 Gamely Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths, providing trainer Jonathan Wong with his first-ever Grade I win and jockey Abel Cedillo with his fourth win on the Memorial Day program.
Breaking from the far outside in a field of 10 fillies and mares three and up, Keeper Ofthe Stars was quickly into contention as she tracked longshots Giza Goddess and Tiny Tina while saving ground in the two-path into and around the Club House turn.
Well within herself leaving the three furlong pole, Keeper Ofthe Stars was asked for her best a quarter mile out, was three-deep turning for home and forged to the lead at the sixteenth pole while much the best on the day.
“I’m over the moon right now!,” said Wong by phone from his Golden Gate Fields base, where he’s become the Bay Area track’s perennial leading trainer. “I’m really speechless. This is my first Grade I, so I’m off the schneid! Now that she’s learned to relax, the sky’s the limit with her. Kristin Mulhall is overseeing everything down there and she deserves all the credit, along with the whole crew.
“This filly had been training so well and she got an amazing ride from Abel, he couldn’t have ridden her any better. She’s a really good filly. I thought she could’ve won a couple of those graded stakes at Del Mar (last summer), but her best races are in front of her. I couldn’t be any prouder.”
A winner of the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes at a mile on turf here Feb. 22, Keeper Ofthe Stars was off at 7-1 and paid $16.60, $7.40 and $6.40.
Owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, Keeper Ofthe Stars, a 4-year-old filly by Midnight Lute, out of the Run Away and Hide mare Sociable, notched her first Grade I win and now has seven wins from 15 overall starts. With the winner’s share of $180,000, she increased her earnings to $501,931.
“She’s better if somebody is in front of her, she likes to follow,” said Cedillo, who now trails Flavien Prat 62-51 in the Santa Anita rider standings. “If she has a target, she is better. Last time I rode her in the Grade II (Buena Vista), I noticed that, so I tried to do the same thing today. I think this was her best race.”
English-bred Bodhicitta rallied from far back while wide-out through the lane to nip Mucho Unusual by a nose for the place under Prat. Off at 14-1, Bodhicitta paid $13.60 and $8.00.
The lone California-bred in the field, Mucho Unusual finished a length clear of Beautiful Lover and paid $5.60 with Umberto Rispoli up at 8-1.
French-bred Etoile, who was making her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown, trailed the field while far back heading into the far turn and was never a factor while finishing eighth as the 8-5 favorite.
Fractions on the race were 23.22, 47.20, 1:11.03 and 1:35.00.
Racing will resume with a three-day on Friday at Santa Anita with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wager via 1stBet.com or through Xpressbet.com. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.