SUTHERLAND GETS IRISH-BRED PORTO MARMAY HOME AT 11-1 IN WISHING WELL HANDICAP

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2010) – The only entrant to have taken part in the race last year when finishing fourth at odds of 17-1, Porto Marmay captured Friday’s sixth running of Santa Anita’s $68,200 Wishing Well Handicap for fillies and mares when she defeated She’s Cheeky by one length after going off at odds of 11-1.

With Chantal Sutherland in the saddle for trainer Julio Canani, the 5-year-old Irish-bred mare took dead aim on longshot leader Skedee in midstretch to gain control in the closing stages of the event at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. The winner was timed in 1:12.89.

Making her first start on grass, She’s Cheeky, ridden by Alex Solis, also overtook Skedee by one-half length after the latter had attempted to steal the event at 20-1 odds with Paul Atkinson engineering the attempt.

According to Sutherland, Solis had her mare in tight quarters at the head of the lane. “But I’ve been watching NASCAR in the jocks’ room,” she said, “and Danica (Patrick) has been in pretty tight, too, and it hasn’t bothered her.”

The Wishing Well provided the 33-year-old Sutherland, a native of Canada who rides much of the year at Woodbine in Toronto, with her third stakes victory at the meeting after having won but one in her first two seasons of competition here.

“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden Chantal,” Canani said in the winner’s circle. “She’s a good rider, and I had her work this mare the other day and she liked her.” Sutherland concluded her afternoon with a $22 winner, as Naughty Mariana took the nightcap, putting an exclamation mark on a Pick Six carryover of $87,162 into Saturday’s program.

Porto Marmay paid $24.20, $11.60 and $7.60. She’s Cheeky returned $12.80 and $7.80 while the show price on Skedee was $11.60.

Dreamt, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10, appeared to have no excuses with a modest rally that gained fifth. Empressive Lady, the 5-2 second choice ridden by Victor Espinoza, leapt in the air at the start and lost all chance, finishing ninth.

The victory by Porto Marmay, owned by Marsha Naify, was worth $39,720 which elevated her career total to $226,983 from a record of 5-2-2 in 19 starts.

Santa Anita offers four graded stakes races on Saturday’s 10-race program with the originally scheduled Grade II Santa Maria Handicap featuring Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic champion Life Is Sweet being joined by the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, the Grade II Strub Stakes and the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds, all rescheduled from the previous Saturday when severe local storms washed out the race card. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

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