Under the Stars and jockey Flavien Prat, right, outleg Awake At Midnyte (Mario Gutierrez), left, to win the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes, Saturday, January 8, 2022 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.© BENOIT PHOTO
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Under The Stars proved best in Saturday’s Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The 3-year-old filly by Pioneerof The Nile was sharp out of the gate and fended off a stretch challenge from Awake At Midnyte (9-2) to score by three-quarters of a length as the 4-5 favorite. Ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Bob Baffert, Under The Stars completed seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:22.51.
Under The Stars wasn’t the quickest out of the gate, but Prat allowed her to find her stride and she jumped up to take the lead through a first quarter in 22.26 seconds. Miss Mattie B took over in the middle of the track for a sixteenth of a mile, while Awake At Midnyte stalked those two on the outside of Big Shamrock.
Taking back her lead to mark a half-mile in :44.95, Under The Stars repelled the challenge of Miss Mattie B around the far turn. Awake At Midnyte moved up to take on the leader in the stretch run, and though appearing full of run was unable to pass Under The Stars.
Under The Stars pulled away in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length. Awake At Midnyte finished second, while Miss Mattie B was third. The remaining order of finish was: Big Switch, Big Shamrock, and Mimajoon.
Bred in Kentucky by Eaton, Under The Stars is out of the G2-winning, G1-placed Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent. The sophomore filly is a half-sister to G1-winning millionaire Bodemeister, also trained by Baffert.
Under The Stars ran third in her debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 31, and returned to run third in the listed Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar two weeks later. The filly broke her maiden at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11, and the Santa Ynez was her fourth career start. With two wins and two thirds, Under The Stars has earned over $170,000.
The Santa Ynez offers Kentucky Oaks points on the 10-4-2-1 scale, but the Baffert-trained winner is not eligible for the points due to Churchill Downs’ two-year ban of the Hall of Fame trainer. The updated Updated Road to the Kentucky Derby/Oaks Leaderboard is available here.
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