Neige Blanche and Juan Hernandez win the Red Carpet.
Trainer Leonard Powell, him self a French native, will send out like favorite Neige Blanche (white snow) a 5-year-old French-bred mare, in Monday’s Grade 3, $125,000 Astra Stakes at Santa Anita. For older fillies and mares with a hillside start at a marathon 1 1/2 miles on turf, the Astra has attracted a field of five.
A winner of the G3 Santa Barbara Stakes going the same distance five starts back on May, 2021, Neige Blanche has maintained a consistent form, winning an ungraded stakes at 1 3/8 miles on turf three starts back on Aug. 14 at Del Mar, and winning her most recent assignment, the G3 Red Carpet Handicap at a mile and three eighths on turf Nov. 25.
A winner of three of her six starts in her native France, Neige Blanche has won three of her nine stateside starts with Powell, including winning three out of six last year and a career-best $204,168. Owned by Madaket Stables, LLC, Laura DeSeroux, Marsh Naify and Mathilde Powell, Neige Blanche took the Red Carpet in gate to wire fashion but has also proven effective stalking the pace in marathon scenarios. With an overall mark of 15-6-0-3, she’s the leading money earner in the field with $315,280 and will be ridden for the seventh consecutive time by Juan Hernandez.
California-bred Reiwa, a winner of two consecutive allowance races on Oct. 30 and Nov. 20 at Golden Gate Fields, comes off a fourth place finish in the ungraded Miss America Stakes going a mile and one sixteenth on Dec. 12. Trained by Jonathan Wong, Reiwa, a 5-year-old mare by the El Prado stallion James Street, is 18-4-5-0 overall and will be looking for her first stakes win with Umberto Rispoli up.
THE GRADE 3 ASTRA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Neige Blanche—Juan Hernandez—124
- Disappearing Act—Flavien Prat—120
- Frose—Mario Gutierrez—120
- Reiwa—Umberto Rispoli—120
- Scherzo—Kyle Frey–120
First post time on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday is at 12:30 p.m. In addition to holiday racing, there will be one dollar beers, sodas and two dollar hot dogs offered through the afternoon. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.
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