Two ex-Europeans face off in race 7 at Santa Anita tonight – can either prevail?
Fantail – Santa Anita– Race 7 – 5/16/2021 – 40K Allowance Optional Claimer (6 ½ furlongs on turf) – 4-year-old filly by Zoffany out of Red Fantasy, formerly trained by Simon & Ed Crisford. I had to do a double-take here initially, as Fantail was last seen finishing a close second over a stiff ten furlongs. She cuts back nearly four furlongs for her US debut, so the obvious first question is “how will she cope with that?”. The shortest this filly has ever run over to date is seven, but she shaped fairly well in three starts over that trip. Importantly, this has always been a free-going mare (hooded on last three starts) whose failure to settle has probably held her back in her career so far; they should go fast here over this distance and that may be just what she needs. Her UK form looks to fit fairly well at this level – most recently finished behind Caen Na Coille, who has been running well in decent East coast Allowance events – and her works have been promising. She is still a maiden on the grass and her only run on fast turf was poor (did far too much on the lead), but she gets Prat up here and has plenty going for her.
Ellerslie Lace – Santa Anita– Race 7 – 5/16/2021 – 63K Allowance (6 ½ furlongs on turf) – 4-year-old filly by Siyouni out of Indiana Wells, formerly trained by Mikel Delzangles. Sole win at Maiden level from ten starts. She has run reasonably well in French Pattern races a few times, the best of those being a good fifth in the French 1000 Guineas last year. Struggled at Listed and Group 2 level following that victory and probably at the crossroads of her career now. Connections will be hoping she can go forward again and show herself capable at Stakes-level and this looks like a good starting point. The distance is shorter than she has run over to date – her only win was over seven furlongs- but should be fine. Soft ground would not concern her, but she is unproven on really fast turf. Her European form would definitely be better than Fantail’s, by around 10lbs, but you can’t really say the same about her works so far. A repeat of her best French form would make her a formidable opponent here.