With an eye-catching turn of foot, Purim’s Dancer and Gary Stevens burst through at the rail turning for home to take Sunday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes for older fillies and mares by 3 1/4 lengths while covering 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.25.
Off as the third choice in the field of 11at 3-1, Purim’s Dancer, who was making her first start in stakes company for trainer Tom Proctor, sat third in behind dueling leaders Nechez Dawn and Garrett Gomez and Givine and Tyler Baze.
In a move similar to her allowance victory down the hill on Jan. 18, Purim’s Dancer hugged the rail and when Nechez Dawn veered outward crossing the dirt at the top of the stretch, Stevens seized the opportunity and quickly opened up two lengths on the field while annexing his second stakes win in as many days.
“I went back and watched her race from the other day when Garrett rode her and tried to draw up the same trip, and we got it,” said Stevens. “When we crossed the dirt, Garrett’s filly kind of scooted out and my filly has a quick turn of foot…and it was over in a matter of seconds.”
When asked to describe how he felt to win the Grade II San Marcos Stakes on Saturday and today’s Wishing Well, Stevens was quick to defer credit.
“It feels tremendous. Because of guys like these, Tom Proctor here to my right and all the great supporters of Gary Stevens through the years and giving me a shot once again. It’s time to capitalize and we are, but it’s good horses that put you in the winner’s circle.”
Although ridden by Gomez on Jan. 18, Purim’s Dancer was ridden by Stevens for the first time in the Wishing Well.
“We decided late to come in this race,” said Proctor. “Garrett had already committed to the other filly (Nechez Dawn), so it was too late for him to try to ride my filly.”
Purim’s Dancer paid $8.80, $5.40 and $4.20. Owned by Doug Donnelly, Corey Johnsen, Lenny Kohn and Gene McLean, Purim’s Dancer, a 4-year-old filly by the Dynaformer stallion Purim, picked up $48,300 for the win and increased her earnings to $117,960 from a record of 6-4-0-1.
Longshot Dancingtothestars, off at 16-1, was fanned four-wide turning for home and ran second with Edwin Maldonado, 1 ¼ lengths in front of 5-2 favorite Byrama and Rafael Bejarano.
Dancingtothestars paid $14.00 and $7.60.
Byrama broke slowly from the rail and made a good run through the lane to finish three quarters of a length in front of Schiaparelli and Joe Talamo. Byrama paid $3.40 to show.
The early splits for the race were 21.86, 44.22 and 1:06.31.
With a Pick Six carryover of $497,258 stoking the mutuel fire, Sunday’s total Pick Six pool reached $770,773. There were 49 winning tickets, each worth $10,413.40. Two of them were purchased on-track, for $1,728 and $960.00, respectively.
Santa Anita will embark upon a special five-day race week on Thursday, as The Great Race Place will be open on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 18.