Alice Marble and jockey Edwin Maldonado winning the Wishing Well Stakes
The lone California-bred in the field, Nick Alexander’s Alice Marble stalked the early leaders and came away nicely a furlong out to take Saturday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes at Santa Anita by a half length. Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Edwin Maldonado, the 5-year-old mare by Grazen got 6 ½ furlongs out of the turf chute at the Arcadia, Calif., track in 1:15.45.
Three quarters of a length behind speedy Dynasty of Her Own three furlongs from home, Alice Marble was in the middle of a three-horse spread that was bracketed by race favorite Hear My Prayer on the outside turning for home and ‘Alice’ proved best on the day, holding off the late charge of Stella Noir at the wire.
“This filly has never looked so good,” said D’Amato, who registered his fifth stakes win of the meet. “She’s all dappled out and I just think she’s thriving right now. I thought with the right trip, she’d be sitting on a big race and Edwin did a beautiful job.”
Second to her front-running stablemate Leggs Galore going about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint Jan. 15, Alice Marble was off as the 5-2 third choice in a field of six older fillies and mares and paid $7.80.
“Phil just told me that she was a very tactical filly and asked me if I had watched a couple of her replays, and of course I did,” said Maldonado, who was aboard for the first time today. “My game plan was to sit behind the three (Dynasty of Her Own) and I knew the seven (Hear My Prayer) was probably going to go tackle the three…I wanted to be behind the seven, behind both of them…
“She had a little speed out of the gate so I didn’t want to take her back to go around the seven and it just worked out beautifully. I thought we were going pretty quick honestly. It didn’t feel slow. I felt like we were going pretty good. I just want to thank Phil for this win and also Nick Alexander.”
Owned and bred by Alexander and out of his More Than Ready mare Unsung Heroine, Alice Marble registered her first career stakes win and her fourth win from nine overall starts. With the winner’s share of $61,620 ($13,500 of which was from the California-bred incentive fund), Alice Marble increased her earnings to $221,180.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Stella Noir saved ground around the turn, awaited room in upper stretch was gaining gradually on the winner late. Off at 5-1, shefinished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Spirit of Bermuda.
Last after the first half mile, about four lengths off the lead, Irish-bred Spirit of Bermuda tagged Dynasty of Her Own by a neck for third money under Tyler Baze.
Fractions on the race were 24.05, 46.29 and 1:09.35.
First post time for an eight-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.