2022 La Brea Stakes & American Oaks Recap

Two fillies posting their first victory at G1 level made the headlines at Santa Anita on Monday, opening day of the winter meet. Fun To Dream showed an impressive blend of speed and power to take the 2022 La Brea Stakes and Rhea Moon prevailed in a thrilling finish to the American Oaks, both horses partnered by jockey Juan Hernandez.

La Brea Stakes

G1, $300,000, 7f dirt, 3yo fillies

Fun day for Baffert

It was an afternoon to remember for Bob Baffert, who swept all five dirt races at Santa Anita on Monday and may have gleaned most enjoyment from the success of Fun To Dream, a filly he co-bred and co-races, in the La Brea.

The controversial master trainer had four in the race and Fun To Dream was the least accomplished before the gates opened, but the 5-2 second-choice, making her first start at Graded level, was an authoritative winner under Juan Hernandez.

She sat just off the pace before committing at the top of the lane and keeping on strongly, turning back the persistent challenge of Awake At Midnyte by three-quarters of a length, stopping the clock in a tick under 1:22. The longshot Kirstenbosch rallied hard from the rear for third, three and a quarter lengths further away, and favourite Midnight Memories was fourth.

“She got the perfect trip,” said Baffert, signing for a record ninth win in the La Brea. “It looks like she’s getting better and better – as a breeder, you hope and dream of these moments.”

It was the fifth victory from six starts for Fun To Dream, who only made her debut at the end of May. The grey daughter of Arrogate is unbeaten in three at Santa Anita and likely to stretch back out beyond a mile on her next start.

2022 La Brea Stakes Race Video

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Fun To Dream takes the 2022 La Brea at Santa anita #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #FYP #Sports #Horse #Horses #Horsesoftiktok

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American Oaks

G1, $300,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo fillies

Moon rises to occasion

The other distaff G1 of the day also went to a filly making her breakthrough at the top level, with Rhea Moon completing a hat-trick and leading home a one-two for trainer Phil D’Amato in the American Oaks.

The 6-1 third-choice was the fourth winner of the afternoon for jockey Juan Hernandez, who kept Rhea Moon well away from the speed until turning her loose off the home turn. She had plenty still to do in mid-stretch but finished the job in sizzling style, running down barnmate and stakes debutante School Dance in the last three jumps to score by a head, with Sparkle Blue three-quarters of a length away in third in a frantic finish. The time was 2:00 flat; favourite Salimah led until emptying out in the final sixteenth, finishing seventh.

“Since she’s started winning, she’s improved with every race,” said Hernandez. “I saved ground and when I put her in the clear she came home really fast, the extra distance was no problem for her.”

Rhea Moon began her career in Ireland before transferring Stateside last winter and has hit the board in all her nine races, winning four times including the G3 Autumn Miss here on her previous start.

2022 American Oaks Race Video

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Rhea Moon dominates in the 2022 American Oaks #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #FYP #Sports #Horse #Horses #Horsesoftiktok

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