ARCADIA, CA – Illuminant had the makings of a big 2016 season before she was sidelined last summer with back problems. She did not start after winning the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita last May.
Nearly 10 months later, Illuminant resumes her career in Friday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes for fillies and mares at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. Expectations are high that Illuminant can get her second stakes win and fifth career victory.
Illuminant won a maiden race on the hillside turf course in October 2015 and was later a troubled fourth, beaten a length, in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes on the hillside in January 2016.
“She’s run well down the hill before,” trainer Michael McCarthy said.
“Can she win? Yes. Will she win? She will definitely give a good showing of herself.”
Illuminant is part of a field of seven in the Wishing Well that includes the group or graded stakes winners Paquita Coqueta and Prize Exhibit. Cadet Roni won the 2016 Wishing Well, while Kera Kera and Miss Double d’Oro are minor stakes winners. Hillhouse High has yet to win a stakes but was third in the Grade 3 Buena Vista Stakes on dirt here Feb. 18.
Wishing Well, Race 5
Illuminant, by Quality Road
Last 3 Beyers: 100-94-94
- A 5-year-old mare, Illuminant was taken out of training late last summer. In November, she was listed as sold for $900,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale in Kentucky to SF Bloodstock. Illuminant raced for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners earlier in her career. The Eclipse partnership has retained a portion of the ownership along with Head of Plains Partners and SF Bloodstock.
“I was glad she was sent back to us,” McCarthy said.
- Illuminant had three published workouts in February and a half-mile work in 48 seconds on the training track last Friday. Wet conditions in Southern California forced McCarthy to alter Illuminant’s training schedule at times.
“The weather has wreaked a little havoc on us,” he said.
- McCarthy said Friday’s race will be a prep for the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 15 and the Gamely Stakes here on May 27. Illuminant was third in the 2016 Jenny Wiley behind Tepin and Wekeela.
Prize Exhibit, by Showcasing
Last 3 Beyers: 89-90-87
- Prize Exhibit won her only start on the hillside, the 2016 Monrovia Stakes, in which Illuminant was fourth. Trained by Jim Cassidy, Prize Exhibit won the Grade 3 Megahertz Stakes at a mile on turf Jan. 16, ending a 10-race losing streak.
- This will be the 22nd consecutive stakes appearance for Prize Exhibit, who has won 7 of 31 starts and earned $637,045 for owner Deron Pearson.
- Prize Exhibit is a closer who should benefit from an expected quick pace.
“There is a lot of speed in there,” Cassidy said.