Photo: Benoit photo

With a fast pace to run at, Storm the Hill was content to lag far back early and ramble late, as she easily overhauled favored Painting Corners to win Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes at Santa Anita by 1 ¾ lengths under Rafael Bejarano.  Trained by Phil D’Amato, the 4-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic got 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:12.13.

Next to last while saving ground after the first quarter mile, Bejarano angled out approaching the quarter pole, wheeled seven-wide at the top of stretch and won with consummate ease.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said D’Amato assistant Rudy Cruz, when asked if he anticipated a fast pace.  “I told Rafael, ‘You be the one.’  He wanted to know if I wanted him to be close to the pace or back off the pace and I told him to just react to whatever was going on. He did a really good job.  He got her out and she finished very strong.”

Fourth in a Grade III turf sprint in Kentucky Sept. 8, Storm the Hill was the second choice at 5-2 in a field of nine fillies and mares three and up and paid $6.80, $3.40 and $2.40.

Owned by Alastar Thoroughbred Company, LLC and Michael Valdes, Storm the Hill, who is out of the Good and Tough mare Thornhill, banked $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $338,735.  Three for four down Santa Anita’s unique hillside course, she now has two graded wins and is now 23-5-1-6 overall.

“She was much the best today,” said Bejarano, who did not ride her in Kentucky, but did guide her to victory here in the Grade III, one mile turf Wilshire Stakes three races back on June 24.  “Her best performance is at six and a half…She’s won at the distance and did again today.  She had a good turn of foot in the stretch today, especially with that pace.”

Ridden by Evin Roman, Painting Corners, in her first stakes appearance, was dispatched as the  8-5 favorite and paid $3.00 and $2.60 while finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Poster Girl.

“She made an easy lead and it seemed like we were just cruising, but she was going a little bit too fast,” said Roman.  That was a fast quarter (20.92) and she got a little tired.”

English-bred Poster Girl was off at 10-1 with Tyler Conner and paid $4.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 20.92, 42.39 and 1:05.97.

Note:  The Senator Ken Maddy is named for the late California State Senator, based in Fresno, who was a stalwart for Thoroughbred racing as both a state assemblyman and senator, beginning in 1971 through 1998.    

 





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