Merneith Earns Well Deserved G2 Win in Santa Monica
Ending last season with a Grade I placing, Merneith (4f American Pharoah x Flattermewithroses, by Flatter) started this one with a Grade II win in Saturday’s Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita.
The filly showed early speed under Edwin Maldonaldo to go straight to the lead in the seven furlong dirt race. From there she galloped comfortably as she traded the lead back and forth with Grade I-placed Golden Principal down the backstretch and around the turn until she tired of the game.
Set down to business in the stretch Merneith pulled away to gallop home a 2 ¼ length winner in a field full of graded stakes performers, including multiple Grade 1 winners. It was the fourth win for the Bob Baffert trained Merneith, who has finished top three in nine of her 10 starts for HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud.
“She looks like American Pharoah to me, when she came in, she looked almost like a spitting image of him, Baffert said. “I’m glad they are starting to run now. To me it means more to American Pharoah than anything else but the ownership, the prince in Dubai, I was telling him how high I was on this filly. Today is the day she finally showed what she has and that was a pretty tough field of horses that she beat. To win one-two-three, it was nice cheering down the lane.”
Bred by China Horse Club, the filly was sold for $350,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale as a weanling to Gary Contessa from Hunter Valley Farm’s consignment. She returned to the sales as a 2-year-old, where she brought $600,000 from Narvick International on behalf of her racing owner from De Meric Sales.
Merneith is one of two winners out of the stakes winner Flattermewithroses, a granddaughter of multiple graded stakes winner Fluttery Danseur.
Flattermewithroses has a 2-year-old Classic Empire filly named Fragrant, who brought $310,000 as a yearling last year from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta.
A leading sire of his generation, American Pharoah is the sire of 14 stakes winners, led by nine graded stakes winners on both the dirt and the turf. The stallion’s runners are led by Group I winner and European Champion 2-Year-Old Van Gogh and Grade I winner Harvey’s Lil Goil.