June 22, 2015
Source: Blood-Horse (Written by: Jeremy Balan)

Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind received a stiff challenge from Tara’s Tango, but kept her unblemished record at Santa Anita Park intact with a nose victory over the challenger in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (gr. II) June 20.

Traveling three wide through the final turn, the daughter of Curlin, appeared tethered to Tara’s Tango in the final two furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile dirt test and edged her rival at the wire. She now is three-for-three in starts at the Arcadia, Calif. track.

The John Sadler trainee, ridden by Victor Espinoza, sat in fourth as Conquest Curlgirl set fractions of :23.94 and :48.26 through a half-mile. Stellar Wind improved to second, alongside Tara’s Tango and Mike Smith, as the leader covered six furlongs in 1:12.27. Tara’s Tango put a head in front in the stretch, but could not put away the 2-5 chestnut filly, who hit the wire at 1:42.53.

“I have to give Mike (Smith) a lot of credit, because Tara’s Tango was really fighting and he was riding her so hard,” Espinoza said. “But Stellar Wind got the job done and she felt great. I know it’s a little bit hot, but she seemed to come back really well after the wire.”

“He had a horse that was more seasoned, who’s been around two turns several times and it was Tara’s Tango’s first time around two turns,” Smith said. “All that happened was that she got a little tired at the end. If that doesn’t happen, I think I get it.”

The winner paid $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10 across the board. Tara’s Tango delivered $3.80 and $2.80. Conquest Curlgirl, 3 1/4 lengths back in third, brought $3.60 to show.

“She ran very well and had to give away the weight, she gave away five pounds today,” Sadler said. “With the pace slow, she had a long, extended, wide run.”

Sheer Pleasure, third early, tired to finish fourth, followed by Scat Means Go. Roksana did not finish after her saddle slipped approaching the first turn, forcing jockey Rafael Bejarano to pull the filly up in the backstretch.

Bred in Virginia by Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, out of the Malibu Moon   mare Evening Star, Stellar Wind now has earnings of $493,200, with a record of 4-0-1 from six starts. Her only blemish, other than her debut at Laurel Park in November, was a troubled fourth-place finish in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 1. The Summertime Oaks was her third graded score, all at Santa Anita, to go along with this year’s Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. II).

After the race, both Sadler and owner Kosta Hronis were open to their filly’s options going forward, but with a lack of lucrative dirt stakes for fillies at Del Mar, they indicated she might be heading east next.

“I think we’d like to keep her on dirt for now,” Hronis said. “If we stay home here at Del Mar, we’d probably have to switch her over to the grass. If we keep her on dirt, we might go to Saratoga.”

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