Paradise Woods could be rounding back into her fine spring form just in time for the Breeders’ Cup. Saturday at Santa Anita, the 3-year-old daughter of Union Rags proved a comfortable winner of the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes, cruising to the line under a hand ride by Flavien Prat, 3 1/2 lengths in front of second choice Faithfully. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.34.
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite in a field cut down to four by a pair of scratches, Paradise Woods took command of the race from the start, pouncing to an early four-length lead, and settling into rhythm under Prat’s hold. After clicking off fractions of 23.13, 46.89, and 1:11.50, Paradise Woods was still alone on the lead heading into the stretch. Faithfully (7-5), made a bid to go after her but couldn’t make up any ground. Motown Lady was a distant third, Midnight Toast fourth.
The victory was the second Grade 1 win of Paradise Woods’ career and the third overall win from six starts. It also earned her a spot in the starting gates for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar Nov. 3. The Richard Mandella trainee collected a pair of wins last spring, including the Santa Anita Oaks before a disappointing 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks and a sixth at Del Mar in the G3 Torrey Pines Stakes Aug. 27.
Bred in Kentucky by Herman Sarkowsky, Paradise Woods is owned by Steven Sarkowsky and Pam and Marty Wygod. She’s out of the Forest Wildcat mare, Wild Forest.
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