MONA DE MOMMA WINS GR. III LAS FLORES, ROSARIO BAGS HAT TRICK, SADLER CAPS HUGE WEEKEND

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 4, 2010)—Fresh off victory in Saturday’s Gr. I Santa Anita Derby with Sidney’s Candy, leading trainer John Sadler took aim at Sunday’s Gr. III, $100,000 Las Flores Handicap with two fillies, highly regarded Alpha Kitten and longshot Mona de Momma. It was “Momma’s” turn to dance on Sunday and thus, Sadler capped an extraordinary weekend at the Great Race Place.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, who notched his third win of the afternoon in the Las Flores, Mona de Momma was allowed to settle in next-to-last position in the field of seven down the backstretch and was angled wide for the run to the wire.

Under a powerful hand-ride from Rosario, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Eclipse Champion sprinter Speightstown was reticent to switch to her left lead through the lane, but did so approaching the sixteenth pole and prevailed by a neck, getting the 6 ½ furlongs on the main track in 1:14.50.

“She ran good,” said Rosario. “I knew there was speed in the race, so I was patient. I work her in the morning and she has a lot of ability. Today, she showed that ability. She responded really well when I asked her.”

Sadler, who also saddled favorite Alpha Kitten, is en route to his second consecutive Santa Anita training title and he collected his 40th win of the meeting, 11 clear of Bob Baffert. Sadler also picked up his seventh stakes victory, putting him one behind Baffert in that category.

“We’re really rolling,” said an obviously elated Sadler. “It set up good for the closers today. There were three legitimate, fast, speedy horses in there, so I thought both my fillies would have a big shot…They both ran great in really fast time, so it was good.”

Owned by Michael Talla, Mona de Momma sat well of interior fractions of 21.89, 44.03 and 1:08.09.

Off at odds of 10-1, she paid $22.20, $9.40 and $4.80. Free Flying Soul, with Mike Smith aboard, paid $5.00 and $2.80. Alpha Kitten, ridden by Tyler Baze, was a half-length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.

Mona de Momma, who had been winless in her last three starts, ran her record to 4-1-2 from 10 starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she extended her earnings to $177,096.

Santa Anita will be dark Monday and Tuesday and a Pick Six carryover of $139,664 will await fans on Wednesday. First post time is set for 1 p.m.

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