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Under the Stars digs deep to win the Santa Ynez S. (G2)
Sunday, January 9, 2022

Under the Stars turned back a stubborn Awake at Midnyte to win Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa Anita Park by three-quarters of a length.

The win gave trainer Bob Baffert his third straight Santa Ynez victory, and a record seventh overall. Under the Stars earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1), which runs on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

Breaking alertly from post 1 in the six-horse field, Under the Stars battled through the first half-mile with Miss Mattie B for the lead. Under the Stars cut the corner at the top of the stretch to open up by about a length, but Awake at Midnyte quickly mounted her bid. The pair fought to the wire as Flavien Prat urged Under the Stars to a slight advantage in the final sixteenth.

The time for the seven furlongs was a solid 1:22.51 on a fast track, good for a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

“When we came into this race, I was worried about the post, but she’s improving,” Baffert said. “She’s a half-sister to Bodemeister, so she has the pedigree to go further and Flavien [Prat] thinks she wants to go further also. It’s nice when they’re bred that well and the Coolmore gang, the ownership group, they’ve been real patient. I’m just glad they sent her to us.”

Bodemeister was Baffert’s 2012 Preakness S. (G1) winner, while the Coolmore owners are Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. Under the Stars is by the late Pioneerof the Nile, who like Bodemeister, was a Grade 1 winner and finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Under the Stars has now won two of her four starts, and placed in the Desi Arnaz S., for earnings of $170,520.


Baffert 2013