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HORSE RACING

Stardom Bound makes 2009 debut at Santa Anita

A victory in the Las Virgenes Stakes could send the 3-year-old filly against the boys in the Santa Anita Derby in April.

February 07, 2009|Eric Sondheimer

When it comes to star power in thoroughbred racing, Stardom Bound ranks with the best, and the 3-year-old gray filly who sold for $5.7 million in November makes her 2009 debut under a new owner and new trainer in today's Grade I $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita.

The one-mile test could send Stardom Bound on a path to challenging the males in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4. It's her first start for IEAH Stables and trainer Rick Dutrow, who guided Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown. Dutrow is coming from Florida for the race, though Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel has been handling her conditioning at Santa Anita.

Stardom Bound, the juvenile filly champion in 2008, is seeking her fourth consecutive Grade I victory and coming off a triumph in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in which her jockey, Mike Smith, said, "She's my baby Zenyatta," referring to the unbeaten older champion female.

There are four graded stakes races on the 10-race card, and comparing Stardom Bound with her male counterparts could become a primary topic, because also taking place today is the Grade II $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes that features two Kentucky Derby prospects, Pioneerof The Nile and I Want Revenge, dueling at 1 1/16 miles.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Horse racing: An article in Saturday's Sports section on the weekend race card at Santa Anita said that the Strub Stakes was for horses 4 years old and up. The Strub is exclusively for 4-year-olds.

The two 3-year-old colts faced off in the Grade I CashCall Futurity on Dec. 20, with Pioneerof The Nile winning by a nose. Pioneerof The Nile is trained by Bob Baffert, who has started 17 horses in the Kentucky Derby and won three times.

Also on tap is the Grade II $250,000 Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds and up. It's a preparatory race for the March 7 Santa Anita Handicap. Gio Ponti, with $820,800 in career earnings, will carry high weight at 123 pounds and jockey Garrett Gomez for trainer Christoph Clement.

The Grade III $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap at one mile on the turf includes Monterey Jazz, who won wire-to-wire in last year's Strub.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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