Switch Wins Santa Monica
Switch romps in Santa Monica
C R K Stable's SWITCH (Quiet American) bided her time in third during the early running of Sunday's $250,000 Santa Monica S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park, swooped around her rivals entering the stretch and pulled away to record an easy 3 1/2-length victory under jockey Joel Rosario. The John Sadler trainee was returning here off a four-length romp in the December 26 La Brea S. (G1), and boosted her career mark to 12-5-3-2, $782,600, with this one while paying $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10.
'These are the hardest ones to win, when you're the heavy favorite,' Sadler said. 'She got the best draw. You want to be on the outside going seven-eighths. It gives you a long time down the backside to get position. The way the track's been playing a little bit, we said don't let anybody steal it. Keep a close eye on 'em. (Rosario) was a little closer than maybe I thought he might be, but speed's been kind of holding so I didn't want anybody to get away with a cheap lead. When you think you have the best horse, you want him up close and clear and he did that exactly right.'
Sent off the 1-5 favorite, Switch settled into third outside of the pacesetting Pica Slew (Pico Central [Brz]) through splits of :22 2/5 and :45. Sandwiched in between those two was Quisisana (Decarchy), and those three maintained their positions all the way around the backstretch. Rosario let out a notch on Switch and the bay miss responded with an increase in momentum that seemed to catapult her to the front. From there it was a simply a matter of the margin of victory, as Switch crossed under the wire in a final time of 1:20 3/5 for seven furlongs on the fast main track.
'I didn't think it would set up that easy,' Rosario mused. 'She's a nice horse and she's improving more and more everyday. John (Sadler) told me to stay close to the pace, and those were the only instructions he gave me. She's just a really nice horse.'
Next under the wire came Gilded Gem (Smarty Jones), who ran four wide in the stretch. Sweet August Moon (Malibu Moon) was third after overtaking Mother Ruth (Speightstown) by a neck on the line. Quisisana and Pica Slew followed the top four, while Mona de Momma (Speightstown) and Pinkarella (Malibu Moon) were both withdrawn.
A debut maiden winner at Hollywood Park in December 2009, Switch was then thrown straight into graded company and acquitted herself well in her next start. The lass finished third in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) and an even closer third to champion Blind Luck (Pollard's Vision) and Evening Jewel (Northern Afleet) in the Las Virgenes S. (G1). Whether it was the shipping or the South Florida climate, she ran a subpar fourth in the Bonnie Miss S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but regained her form when returning to Hollywood, finishing second in the Railbird S. (G3).
Switch gained revenge on Blind Luck when getting the jump on the deep closer in the Hollywood Oaks (G2) and holding her off by 1 1/4 lengths. Sadler decided to experiment with is charge and sent her over the turf in the San Clemente H. (G2), where she wound up a creditable fifth, but the filly rebounded handsomely on Del Mar's Polytrack with a 3 1/4-length victory in the Torrey Pines S.
That set Switch up for a near-upset of Zenyatta in the 1 1/16-mile Lady's Secret S. (G1) during the Oak Tree meet, where she forced the super mare to dig deep to get the half-length victory. The bay miss cut back to seven furlongs in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), rallying to be a good second behind champion Dubai Majesty, and finished out her sophomore season in the aforementioned La Brea, where she set a new track record for her performance.
'I thought we'd have a chance to be leader of the division this year, with Zenyatta retiring,' Sadler stated. 'I think Switch is very, very good, as good as anything out there, and I want to thank David Ingordo for picking her out as a yearling.
'We're going to look at the (March 12) Santa Margarita (G1) and the (April 15) Apple Blossom (G1), a couple of those type of races. She'll have six, seven races this year. She's kind of a late-developing filly. We kind of thought early on last year that she would improve with age and she's showing that right now. She's got a big frame on her and a big stride and she tries every time, so we're going to see what's out there for her and take it one step at a time.'
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Switch sold for $150,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of Grade 3 winner Antoniette (Nicholas), who has also produced stakes scorer Keystone Gulch (Gulch), an unnamed juvenile filly by Grand Slam and a yearling filly by Pleasantly Perfect. Switch's second dam, Tash (Never Bend), is noted for foaling French highweight and sire Mukaddamah (Storm Bird), Group 3 hero Tatami (Lyphard) and dual stakes victress Mariuka (Danzig), the latter of whom would go on to produce Grade 3 winner Lydgate (Pulpit). Switch's fourth dam is Broodmare of the Year Natashka (Dedicate).
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