A multiple winner in Ireland and a stakes-winner in the US last year, progressive mare Queen of the Sand (5m Footstepsinthesand x Lough Mewin, by Woodman) scored her first Graded victory with a thrilling win in the $151,000 Grade III Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Now with Patrick Gallagher, Queen of the Sand settled back in the field and came with a late sharp burst to dash between horses and snatch a nose win in the mile and a quarter contest on turf.
“I was a little concerned with the pace, and she did have some trouble in the race in upper stretch, but Drayden [Van Dyke] had talked to Mike [Smith] who had been riding her, but was out of town today, and he helped Drayden with some advice,” said Gallagher.
“She had been training well and her last race helped her, I think. We’d look at the [GI] Gamely [S. May 25] for her next race.”
Queen of the Sand has won eight of 23 starts and is a half-sister to stakes-placed Rydan from Lough Mewin, a half-sister to stakes-winners Whilte Gulch and Bodyguard.