From Santa Anita: Crystal Ball Fires Big Off Bench & Takes $63,000 Santa Anita Allowance

Santa Anita Press Release


ARCADIA, Calif. (April 2, 2021)–Idle since well beaten in Saratoga’s prestigious Grade I Alabama Stakes Aug. 15, Bob Baffert’s Crystal Ball was more than ready on Friday at Santa Anita, as she stalked the pace and drew clear late for a one length tally in the day’s $63,000 allowance feature.  Ridden by Flavien Prat and owned by WinStar Stablemates Racing, LLC, the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon got a flat mile in 1:36.53.

With longshot Miss Fia and apprentice Jessica Pyfer darting to the early lead from the rail, Crystal Ball sat a close second to the far turn and drew within a neck a quarter mile from home.  With Miss Fia running her heart out to her inside, Crystal Ball gained the advantage at the sixteenth pole and gradually drew clear.

Fifth, beaten 25 ¼ lengths by eventual Eclipse Champion Swiss Skydiver in the Alabama, but a close second two starts back in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks on July 18, Crystal Ball was the narrow second choice at even money and paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.10.

“Coming off a layoff, she’d been training well, but there’s nothing like a race,” said Baffert.  “Now, she’s ready to get back to some stakes competition, so this will set her up nice…There’s nothing like bringing them back off a long layoff.  Those fillies, they made her run hard, that was a tough race.”

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From The Blood-Horse: Paris Lights Captures Distaff in 4-Year-Old Debut

Photo: Coglianese Photos/The Blood-Horse

By Blood-Horse Staff

WinStar Stablemates Racing’s Paris Lights capped her sophomore campaign with a graded stakes score and made her anticipated 4-year-old bow with similar success, running down Portal Creek in the final jumps to capture the April 2 $150,000 Distaff Handicap (G3) by a half-length at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Paris Lights was last in action nearly nine months prior, when she tracked in second position before edging Crystal Ball by a head to win the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) in July at Saratoga Race Course.

Off the respite, Paris Lights utilized a similar trip in the Distaff, breaking sharp from post 4 under jockey Junior Alvarado and sitting in second position behind pacesetter Portal Creek, who led the compact five-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in :24.04 seconds and the half in :48.28 on the fast main track.

Kendrick Carmouche kept Portal Creek to the inside out of the turn, with Paris Lights tenaciously attempting to overtake her from the outside. The duo linked up in the stretch, with Portal Creek initially repelling her rival’s initial charge before Paris Lights regained command in the final sixteenth, hitting the wire in 1:26.99 for the seven furlongs.

Honor Way was another neck back in third. Kansas Kis and Lady Kate completed the order of finish.

The trainee of Hall of Famer Bill Mott won for the fourth time in five career starts and fourth straight following a third-place debut effort in April 2020 at Gulfstream Park.

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Stablemates Member Profile: Bob Donati

Bob Donati and his wife, Elyse

Born and raised in Chicago, Bob Donati grew up attending Arlington Park with his father and family. Being up close and personal with racehorses—and, of course, winning the occasional $2 bet—gave him the racing bug—a bug that has never gone away.

Bob’s wife, Elyse, has joined him in his passion for Thoroughbred racing and the couple ventured into ownership with a local Chicago partnership. When the opportunity to become a part of the WinStar Stablemates Racing syndicate arose, the Donatis jumped at the chance.

“My wife and I found this to be a unique opportunity to be involved with a world class Thoroughbred organization and fillies with high class pedigrees at a very affordable price point,” Bob said. “This was a partnership unlike any other we had seen before and it gave us a chance to add to our own partnership portfolio.”

In December 2020, the couple relocated to Lexington, Kentucky: the Horse Capital of the World. Surrounded by horse farms and just a quick drive away from Keeneland, the Donatis are enveloped in the sport that has become their passion. And their involvement in Stablemates has only added to that, particularly with special performances from the syndicate’s fillies.

For Bob, the moment that has stood out to him since joining Stablemates is one that many members pinpoint as their most memorable as well:

“It would have to be screaming at the TV as Paris Lights and Crystal Ball battled head to head down the Saratoga stretch to finish 1-2 in the CCA Oaks. It took a few days to come down from cloud 9 after that one.”

That stretch battle between two of the syndicate’s fillies was a prime example of what has made Bob fall so head over heels in love with the sport of racing.

“I love the purity of competition exhibited by the horses and the heart-pounding excitement of a good stretch duel,” Bob said. “The second [reason I love racing] would be the majority of people involved in the sport, as they are really the salt of the earth.”

From the Daily Racing Form: Distaff Handicap a starting point for Paris Lights

Paris Lights Photo: Chelsea Durand

By David Grening, Daily Racing Form

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though seven furlongs may not be her preferred distance, Paris Lights seems to have found a good spot to return from a 258-day layoff in Friday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.

Paris Lights, a daughter of Curlin trained by Bill Mott for WinStar Stablemates Racing, won three consecutive two-turn races last year after finishing third in a seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream in April. Paris Lights has not run since she won the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga last July 18. She developed a splint bone injury in a hind leg training toward the Alabama, and was given the remainder of the year off.

While the Distaff wasn’t originally on the docket for Paris Lights, Mott said the timing of it is better than something like the Doubledogdare at Keeneland on April 16, considering he’s hoping to get her to the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill on April 30.

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