By: Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, CA – Bajan won the first stakes of her career in Sunday’s $75,020 Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita, a result that gave trainer Simon Callaghan a reason to expect more from the filly in the coming months.
“This surface is her thing,” he said. “She really lets herself go.”
Bajan will have plenty of opportunities to show her affinity for the Santa Anita dirt track. Santa Anita will host a six-month meeting from Dec. 26 to late June, a season that will be loaded with stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
In the Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Bajan ($8.40) had an ideal trip to win the six-furlong race. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Bajan closed from fourth in a field of five to win by 2 1/4 lengths. She was timed in 1:10.64.
Espinoza guided Bajan to the outside of pacesetters Cadron and Smoove It before taking the lead in early stretch. Bajan led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.
“We thought there would be speed,” Callaghan said. “He sat a nice trip behind. It worked perfectly. It went the way we hoped.”
E Equalsmcsquared closed from last to finish second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Smoove It. Spring Moon, the 7-10 favorite, never was a factor and finished fourth, beaten nine lengths. Cadron, who set an early pace of 21.72 and 45 seconds, faded to finish last.
Bajan, a Speightstown filly, races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Ron and Jerry Frankel. She has won 2 of 4 starts and earned $99,150.
Purchased for $80,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.’s sale of 2-year-olds in training in March, Bajan won a maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 10 in her second start and was a troubled sixth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 31.
Callaghan said Bajan may start around two turns later this year, but he has yet to form a plan with the partners.
“I think she can run longer,” he said.