In what looked to be as good a field of sprinters on turf anywhere in the world in 2018, the Anthony Freedman-trained gelding Santa Ana Lane came with a barnstorming finish to earn a fourth win at the highest level in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
Looking a picture of health in the paddock, Santa Ana Lane took up his favoured stalking role in the early stages and still had most of the field ahead of him with 300 metres to go.
When Mark Zahra, who was standing in for the suspended Ben Melham, asked the 6yo Lope de Vega gelding for the supreme effort he powered home to defeat the ever game In Her Time (Time Thief) by a neck with a further one and a half lengths back to the dead-heaters Pierata (Pierro) and Jungle Cat (Iffraaj) back in third. (photos Grant Courtney)
Adding the Group 1 feature to previous wins in the MRC Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, BRC Stradbroke Handicap and SAJC Goodwood Handicap, Santa Ana Lane advances his record to 9 wins, 1 second and 5 thirds from 31 starts with earnings of $3,473,961.
“It was a shame the way it panned out in Sydney (in The Everest) because I thought he was spot on and he didn’t get his chance there,” Freedman said.
“I won’t say this was an afterthought, but we were always a bit dubious down the straight because he’s had a couple of failures.
“Mark rode him really well and it all opened up for him and he was very strong late.
“He’s had a great 12 to 18 months and we’ll see what we can do next year.”
Those plans may now include Royal Ascot after the son of Lope de Vega ticked off the straight box.
An $80,000 purchase by Randwick Bloodstock Agency from the Rosemont Stud draft at the 2014 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Santa Ana Lane was bred by Patinack Farm.
He is the second foal of the winning Fastnet Rock mare Fast Fleet a three-quarter sister to the stakes-placed Strategy (Danehill) and a half-sister to Group III Waikato Guineas winner Blimey O’Reilly (O’Reilly) and Listed winner Flag Officer (Excites).
Fast Fleet has a 2yo filly by Kuroshio named Black Tide who was purchased by Proven thoroughbred/Steven O’Dea Racing for $60,000 at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling sale, and a yearling filly by Toorak Toff who was purchased by Next Level Bloodstock $27,000 at the 2018 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.
Fast Fleet missed to Dubawi’s English 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder (IRE) in 2016 and was covered by Tapit’s triple Grade 1 winner Frosted last spring.
She was sent to this year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale where she was purchased by Aquis Farm for $200,000.
Fast Fleet foaled a Frosted (USA) filly on August 3.