ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2012) – Following a stirring stretch-long duel with Sugarinthemorning, Craig Stables’ Home Sweet Aspen emerged victorious by a neck Saturday in Santa Anita’s 55th running of the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs before an on-track crowd of 30,514 on Sunshine Millions Day.
Timed in 1:21.42 under a vigorous ride by Joel Rosario, the homebred daughter of Candy Ride rebounded from a faltering fourth in the Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 31 to gain her first graded stakes victory in her ninth start.
It wasn’t easy. Home Sweet Aspen and Sugarinthemorning, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, began to separate themselves from the other five entrants at the head of the lane. But neither would yield. It was Home Sweet Aspen, a 5-1 shot, along the rail with 9-2 Sugarinthemorning on her flank. Finally, Rosario’s mount slowly edged clear.