Searching Stakes snippets

Saturday’s $100,000 Searching Stakes at Laurel Park has drawn a bulky field of 11 three-year-old fillies set to go 1 1/16 miles on the turf (assuming it remains on the turf).

The Searching is one of two stakes on the card and is carded as the seventh of 10 races.

  • Morning line favorite Vergara is crossed-entered in a G3 race at Woodbine and may bypass this spot.
  • Curious Vergara fact: she’s made her last two starts in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico and the Grade 2 Wonder Again at Belmont Park; none of 10 horses to run back from those two races won their next start.
  • Stakes winners: only two of the 11 entered have won a stake thus far in their careers. Ocean Safari (4-1) won the Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park last out, while Sparkle Blue scored in the Christana at Delaware Park at 15-1 odds in her most recent start.
    • “I think she’ll do good at the distance,” Ocean Safari’s trainer Gilberto Zerpa said. “She’s coming off the mile win and she’s a filly that likes to sit right off the pace, third or fourth. She’s got a good kick at the end so I think the distance shouldn’t be an issue.”
  • Fancy bloodlines: Quality Control (15-1) is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winners March to the Arch, a millionaire, and Global Access. All three are out of the German-bred mare Daveron, who was herself a multiple graded stakes winner. 
  • Fancy bloodlines, Pt. 2: Sparkle Blue is out of the Golden Tiy mare Silk n’ Sapphire. That makes her a half-sis to 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account, as well as graded stakes winner Colonial Flag.
    • “Jeremy [Rose] did a great job with her. She’s been a little tricky in the past, this filly, and Jeremy has that style of kind of leaving horses alone and letting them do their thing. He very much suited this filly, and it worked out well. He gave her a great ride,” trainer Graham Motion said of Sparkle Blue. “I can’t say I wasn’t a little surprised coming off the layoff, but we always thought she had that kind of ability. She’s from Shared Account’s family, so it’s been a great family for us.”
  • Home away from home: Ocean Safari is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Temple City, but she has plenty of connection to Maryland, where she’s visiting for the first time. She’s out of the Maryland-bred mare Media Access, a daughter of Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Famer Devil’s Bag. Media Access, trained by Larry Murray for Howard and Sondra Bender, was a turf stakes winner and is also the dam of 2013 Geisha Stakes winner Access to Charlie.
  • Cast of thousands: If all post, trainer Motion will send out three runners in this spot, including the favorite.
  • Lightly raced: Gastown Babe (12-1) has made only two starts in her career. She won at first asking going 5 ½ furlongs, rallying from well back to win by three parts of a length over next-out winner Rambert. She then led a long way before settling for second against allowance foes.
  • Searching: A foal of 1952, Searching went on to win 12 stakes, including two runnings of the Gallorette at Pimlico. She was even more productive as a broodmare, her offspring including champion Affectionately and stakes winners Admiring and Priceless Gem.
Sparkle Blue
Sparkle Blue won the Christiana Stakes at Delaware Park. Photo Allison Janezic.