Stellar Wind makes some noise in Santa Ysabel

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

March 1st, 2015

As expected, Light the City was sent off the favorite in Saturday’s Santa Ysabel S. (G3), but it was Stellar Wind who stole the show at Santa Anita Park for new trainer John Sadler.

The chestnut miss utilized her outside post position to good effect, letting the speedsters take control up front while settling about two wide in the third flight.

It was a good spot for Stellar Wind, as evidenced by Rattataptap having to take up sharply off the heels of Enchanting Lady while tucked in just behind her on the rail. For much of the race Rattataptap was held on a tight rein to keep her from running into the back of the pacesetter.

Stellar Wind just loped along until nearing the turn, when the filly moved up on the outside to run in tandem with Enchanting Lady, Light the City and Glory. That left her four wide rounding the final turn but it didn’t stop the sophomore miss from responding to jockey Victor Espinoza’s encouragement and grabbing the lead in midstretch.

Stellar Wind crossed under the wire 2 ¾ lengths better than Light the City while making stakes debut, not an easy feat. Some will probably insist it was entirely possible considering her 8 ¾-length maiden score that resulted in Kosta and Peter Hronis privately purchasing the filly and transferring her from Donald Barr at Laurel Park to Sadler in California.

And therein lay one of the biggest knocks against Stellar Wind going into the Santa Ysabel. Not necessarily her talent but how she would handle such a big transition. Going from the cold weather in the Northeast to mild, sunny conditions on the West Coast can be quite a shock for some. Add in the fact she would be facing not just winners, but stakes-experienced winners, and it’s actually easy to understand how Stellar Wind was let off at 7-1 in the Santa Ysabel.

The filly proved all her doubters wrong and it’ll be exciting to see if she’ll progress even further in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) next out on April 4.

Rattataptap is one to watch in the future. The gray miss was completely taken out of her game being stuck down on the inside. She wanted to go on but found herself strangled and held back to keep from running into Enchanted Lady. Jockey Rafael Bejarano was pretty much standing up the entire length of the backstretch just trying to keep her contained.

Is it surprising then that, by the turn, Rattataptap threw in the towel and began dropping back? She wound up finishing last, beaten 14 ¾ lengths, but I don’t think the race was a true estimate of her abilities. Also, while I know four races isn’t a big sample group, a pattern has emerged whereas the filly runs big one time, then loses big the next, complete with good and bad BRIS Speed numbers.

If that is a true pattern, then Rattataptap deserves another shot at these in the Santa Anita Oaks, where she could have an upset chance at a nice price.

As for my rooting interest in the race, Achiever’s Legacy (City Zip), she did well to be fourth. Racing in last on the backstretch she began her move about the same time as Stellar Wind, but just couldn’t keep up. The chestnut lass was widest of the entire field rounding the turn and displayed a good late turn of foot, but she’ll need to pick it up a bit if she hopes to threaten Stellar Wind or Light the City in the future.

Photo: Benoit Photos