Courtesy of Santa Anita ARCADIA, CA (Jan. 16, 2021) – With a nightmarish trip in her last start behind her, Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks powered to an impressive one length win in Saturday’s $200,000 Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita. One of three fillies in the field trained by Carla Gaines, Closing Remarks was ridden by Umberto Rispoli and covered one mile on turf in 1:35.62.
Named for the longtime owner/breeder and trainer who passed away this past Sept. 3 at 79, the Leigh Ann Howard Cal Cup Oaks is part of the CTBA’s lucrative Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired three year old fillies.
Full of run with nowhere to go turning for home in the Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes going a mile on turf at Del Mar Nov. 28, Closing Remarks, in her fourth career start, was off as the 5-2 second choice in a field of 10 sophomore fillies and paid $7.80, $4.40 and $3.60.
We had quite a bit of confidence, just hoping she would get a cleaner trip this time, and that worked out well,” said winning trainer Carla Gaines. “This is one of the best cards on Cal Cup Day we’ve seen in a long, long time,” she continued. “We keep expressing to the Management and the Racing Office how important the Cal-breds are here and this is a great indication.”
“It was nice to have a clean trip today. My trip today was fantastic” said winning rider Umberto Rispoli. “The speed was on, and she was happy where she was. I was traveling and waiting for the stretch because I felt that they went pretty fast in the front. I knew she was ready, and who the target was this race. Carla does an amazing job, and fortunately we didn’t get stopped today.”
By Vronsky, out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks notched her first stakes win and her second win from four overall starts. With the winner’s share of $110,000, she increased her earnings to $149,500.
Fractions on the race were 22.60, 46.96, 1:11.15 and 1:23.56.