ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2016)–Last with three furlongs to run, California-bred Bad Ju Ju surged to the lead a sixteenth of a mile from home to take Friday’s $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita by 2 ½ lengths under Norberto Arroyo, Jr. Trained by Peter Miller, the 4-year-old daughter of Desert Code got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.04 over a main track listed as wet fast.
Claimed three starts back for $40,000 on Oct. 8, Bad Ju Ju got her first stakes win while winning for the third consecutive time for Rockingham Ranch. Off at 4-1 in a field of eight fillies and mares three and up, she paid $10.80, $5.20 and $5.00.
“What a ride!” exclaimed Miller. “She was down inside and then he was able to tip outside coming to the quarter pole…I could see he was loaded, but I was afraid he was going to get stopped. We’ll nominate to the Santa Monica (Grade II, seven furlongs on Jan. 21), but she’s Cal-bred and we’ll look at all those races as well.
The Kalookan Queen capped a stellar year for Bad Ju Ju, who is based with Miller at San Luis Rey Downs. In her 11th start of 2016, she picked up her fifth win and improved her overall record to 17-7-1-4. With a Cal-bred bonus of $22,500, she received $61,740 for the win, boosting her career earnings to $305,731.
“I was very confident going into the race and I was confident during the race,” said Arroyo, who was covered in mud following the race. “I’ve been going down to San Luis Rey to work her and I knew she was doing well.”
Head and head for the early lead with longshot Tuscany Beauty and favored Fantastic Style, Brainspin, ridden by Luis Contreras, tired late and had to settle for second, one length in front of Ponder Lea. Off at 6-1, Brainspin paid $7.00 and $7.00.
Next to last after a quarter mile, Ponder Lea was off at 18-1 and paid $15.00 to show with Flavien Prat.
Fantastic Style, with Rafael Bejarano up for Bob Baffert, was heavily favored at 1-2 but caved readily the final three sixteenths, finishing fifth.
Fractions on the race were 21.44, 44.18 and 1:09.40.