The Barrera family was going for three in a row. Jockey Chris McCarron was going for his fourth of the day. And Arewehavingfunyet was going for her fifth against an all-filly field.
And at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Saturday, in the $200,000-added Oak Leaf Stakes, Arewehavingfunyet had everything going her way.
Wayne Lukas' lean, sharp 2-year-old filly, with jockey Pat Valenzuela aboard, got off to a slow start and was in the middle of the pack into the first turn. Arewehavingfunyet, the daughter of Sham by Just Jazz, stayed out from the inner rail through the backstretch but moved outside the leaders entering the stretch and seized the lead.
With Laz's Joy coming up along the outside and Trim Colony, with jockey Fernando Toro, running less than a neck behind, Arewehavingfunyet went into high gear. She and Trim Colony dueled it out down the stretch, before Arewehavingfunyet won by a nose in the 1 1/16-mile contest for fillies.
Arewehavingfunyet scored her fifth stakes victory in eight starts this year and remained undefeated in five starts against fillies. Arewehavingfunyet paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.40; Trim Colony paid $3.20 and $3.20, and Laz's Joy, with jockey Ray Sibille, paid $4.40 to show.
For trainer Albert S. Barrera, son of Laz Barrera, a victory with Laz's Joy would have been the Barrera family's third straight win of the day. Laz Barrera won the sixth race with Seniority and the seventh with Pride Of Ours before finishing third in the Oak Leaf. McCarron, with four victories for the afternoon, wound up fifth with Wee Lavaliere in the Oak Leaf.
And Arewehavingfunyet wound up confirming what races at Del Mar and Oak Tree have already shown--the brown colt is certainly a top contender for an Eclipse Award. Last year's Oak Leaf winner, Folk Art, finished second in the Eclipse balloting.
"I think Arewehavingfunyet has the potential to be as good a horse as we have ever raced," owner Brownell Combs of Spendthrift Farms said. "Our job is to breed 'em. Lukas takes it from there."
Lukas has taken Arewehavingfunyet and campaigned her to the top of the 2-year-old standings. Saturday's win was Lukas' third Oak Leaf Stakes victory in four years, including victories by Landaluce in 1982 and Life's Magic in '83. Lukas leads the country with record-setting one-year totals for purses, more than $7 million, and with stakes wins, 58.
"Where Arewehavingfunyet races next is up to General Lukas," Combs said. "He has a knack for strategically placing his troops in winning situations. General Patton could hardly do a better job."
Jockey Gary Stevens, injured in a morning workout Friday, will be transferred to Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood Monday. Stevens dislocated his right shoulder, suffered a chip fracture of the upper bone in his right arm and tore a ligament in his right knee. He is said to be improving slowly and will not return to riding for six to eight weeks. . . . Earl's Valentine, a 2-year-old sister to Fran's Valentine, will make her debut in today's sixth race. Fran's Valentine will follow Monday, racing in the $75,000-added Yankee Valor Handicap.