Dual Grade 1 Winner Ce Ce is Back
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
Dual Grade 1 winner Ce Ce, fresh off victories in the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park and the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park, has returned to the Arcadia, California track to take on four rivals in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (G2) on Sunday.
Michael McCarthy trains Ce Ce for Bo Hirsch, and the daughter of Elusive Quality has rewarded their patience with four wins in six starts. She debuted with a victory last April, then ran second in allowance company before facing some of the toughest fillies in the nation in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. She finished a credible fourth, but was off from June 8 until February 17. She has been unbeaten in three starts since then. Victor Espinoza will be back aboard for the 1 1/16-mile race.
Looking to avenge her second-place finish behind Ce Ce in the Beholder Mile (G1) is Hard Not to Love. The one-eyed filly, who will be ridden once again by Mike Smith, was the winner of the Grade 1 La Brea and Grade 2 Santa Monica earlier in the meet. Trainer John Shirreffs has worked hard with the West Point Thoroughbreds and Mercedes Stables runner, who suffers from anxiety and often struggles in the post parade. She was beaten 3 ¼ lengths in the Beholder Mile after leading much of the race.
Fighting Mad made her return to the races on May 17, finishing fourth in the Desert Stormer Stakes (G3) for trainer Bob Baffert. Last summer at Del Mar she took the Torrey Pines (G3), and is three for six overall. Abel Cedillo will ride the daughter of New Year’s Day.
Kaydetre has been wheeled back quickly following an allowance win on May 25. The popular gray Mizzen Mast mare was fourth in the Beholder Mile and fourth in the La Canada Stakes (G3) in January. Last year she was stakes placed at Del Mar for owner/breeder/trainer David Randall. Brice Blanc will ride.
Grade 3 winner Horologist rounds out the field. Flavien Prat will be aboard the filly for Richard Baltas.
The Santa Maria is one of two stakes races at Santa Anita this weekend, with the other being the Honeymoon Stakes (G3) on Saturday. Catch all the weekend stakes action with TVG.
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