Midwestern Invader Selenaia Proves Much The Best As She Rallies For 3 ¼ Length Win In Grade III, $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes
MIDWESTERN INVADER SELENAIA PROVES MUCH THE BEST AS SHE RALLIES FOR 3 ¼ LENGTH WIN IN GRADE III, $100,000 HONEYMOON STAKES UNDER BRAVO
ARCADIA CA (June 10, 2023)—Fresh off of an airplane from Lexington, Kentucky, Irish-bred Selenaia proved much the best among a field of eight sophomore fillies in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita as she sprinted to a 3 ¼ length victory under Joe Bravo. Trained by Kentucky-based Jonathan Thomas, Selenaia, in her first stakes engagement, got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:48.18.
Breaking sharply, Selenaia was fourth under a snug hold, about 4 ½ lengths off of Bob Baffert’s speedy Fast and Shiny as the field crossed the finish line for the first time. Fourth by a similar margin heading to the far turn, she pulled Bravo to the fore mid-way around the turn, made the lead a quarter mile from and fairly sprinted to the wire under a hand ride in a most impressive Southern California debut.
“I’ve never been on her before (but) I’ve seen her replays,” said Bravo. “Jonathan gave me a big head’s up on her today and she broke away from there and was in control about it all. I really didn’t want to make the move down the backside. Man, she stretched out across the wire so beautifully.
“Jonathan just has her (on the improve). She just keeps getting better. I’m excited to see what more she has in store.”
A one mile maiden turf winner two starts back on Sept. 24 at the Meadowlands, Selenaia rallied for a 1 ¾ length win in one mile allowance at Horseshoe Indianapolis on May 10. In steady training at Keeneland since her last start, Selenaia was off as the 5-2 second choice today and paid $7.60, $4.80 and $3.20.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables, LLC, Selenaia is now three for four in the win column and with today’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $106,230.
“It’s a big relief that she got it done,” said Emmet Jolley, assistant to Thomas. “We were very confident coming into the race today that she would do well, but it was a step up. She did great, (the) distance was the question. Joe said when he got off that she would go further, so lots of options on the table. We will enjoy today and go from there.”
Ridden by Antonio Fresu, Broadway Girls, forwardly placed throughout, was second best on the day, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of race favorite Paris Secret. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Broadway Girls was off at 6-1 and paid $6.80 and $3.80.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Irish-bred Paris Secret never threatened for the win or place and paid $2.80 to show while off at 9-5.
Pace setter Fast and Shiny checked in fourth, a half length behind the favorite.
Fractions on the race were 23.47, 47.40, 1:12.12 and 1:35.92.
First post time for a 10-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.