Source BloodHorse.com by Evan Hammonds
Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind, the 6-5 favorite in the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), rolled to an easy 5 1/4-length win in the 1 1/16-mile race April 4 at Santa Anita Park. The Virginia-bred daughter of Curlin covered the distance in under Victor Espinoza in 1:43.26 on a fast track. Luminance was second and Wild at Heart was three lengths back in third (VIDEO).
Glory and Luminance were game to get to the front and quickly opened up a sizable lead early in the Oaks, battling through opening fractions of :22.91 and :46.34. Luminance inched clear and carried the field through six furlongs in 1:10.76.
Stellar Wind, with Victor Espinoza up, came with a wide move and quickly took command in the stretch. She hit the sixteenth pole in 1:36.63. Curlin’s Fox was was fourth and Singing Kitty was fifth and was folloed by Glory and Light the City. She’s a Big Winner was scratched.
Bred by Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Stellar Wind began her racing career with owner Barbara Houck in Maryland. Trained by Donald Barr, Stellar Wind finished third in her debut Nov. 20 at Laurel Park going six furlongs. Stretched to a mile for a maiden special weight Dec. 18, she drew off to an 8 3/4-length victory. She was then sold and shipped to the West Coast.
“I’ve been coming to this track my whole life to win that race,” said Kosta Hronis. “We’ve always attended this track growing up and to come to Derby Day and watch these special races and to be part of it was really amazing. And to win it; once we saw she was going to win the race, I just stood up and I was in awe that we could be part of it.
“She looked good all the way around. She looked comfortable. I knew if she didn’t get caught in traffic and she was sitting out it would be great. If you keep the best horse out of trouble, that’s a good sign and Victor kept her out of trouble. I thought we maybe moved a little bit too early, but she’s a really talented filly. She wasn’t going to be caught today.”
She won the Feb. 28 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) in her stakes debut.
“She really wants more distance,” Sadler said. “This horse has a tremendous amount of stamina. It worked well last time. She broke a little slow (in the Santa Ysabel) and settled off kind of a slow pace, and so today, I said, ‘I wouldn’t change anything. Do what you’ve been doing.’
“The plan is to go the (Longines) Kentucky Oaks (May 1). That’s the idea. It’s a month away so the spacing is right. Hopefully, we’ll be there the day before the (Kentucky) Derby.”
Stellar Wind is the first foal out of the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star. Evening Star is a half sister to a pair of stakes winners: Im Out First, who has thrown two stakes winners, including Im a Dixie Girl; and Zenith, the dam of Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) winner Great Hunter.
Consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale by the Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, Stellar Wind was a $40,000 buy for Vernan Lee Stables. Houck purchased the filly for $86,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic September yearling sale from the Marshall Silverman, agent, consignment.
Stellar Wind paid $4.40, $2.80, and $2.40. Luminance paid $4 and $3. Wild At Heart returned $3.60. The $1 6-5 exacta paid $6.90.