Great Hot wins Santa Maria Stakes

Gary Steven's rides Great Hot to a gate-to-wire win in the Santa Maria Stakes.
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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP)

Great Hot went to the front early and earned a half-length victory in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at Santa Anita on Saturday.

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Ridden by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, Great Hot ran 1-1/16 miles in 1 minute, 43.08 seconds and returned $20.80 for a $2 win bet. It was Stevens' fifth win in the race but his first since 1988.

''At the three-eighths pole, I let her out a notch and it wasn't full-tilt yet, but it was enough to get their attention,'' Stevens said of the other four horses. ''When we turned into the stretch, she still had enough to hold the other filly (Book Review) off.''

Stevens has won three straight stakes at Santa Anita, having swept a pair last weekend. The 49-year-old rider began a comeback last month after a seven-year layoff.

Book Review was second as the even-money favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Lady of Fifty was another 3-3/4 lengths back in third.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Great Hot's career earnings to $537,927, with five wins in 21 starts. The 5-year-old Brazilian-bred had been winless in her previous 13 starts.

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