Trainer Ron McAnally, fresh from a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff with Bayakoa, hopes to have equal success with a pair of sophomore fillies, Affirmed Classic and Paper Princess, in the $75,000-added Linda Vista Handicap, Wednesday at Santa Anita.
Del Mar Oaks runner-up Darby's Daughter will carry high weight to post in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies. The Grade III event is contested over 1 1/16 miles. Wednesday begins a six-day closing week of racing at the Oak Tree meeting, highlighted by the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Sunday and Grade I Carleton F. Burke Handicap on Monday's final program.
David Beard's Affirmed Classic was consistent through the first half of 1989, finishing in the money all seven starts. However, she has yet to win. But after her move to Del Mar, and a jockey change to apprentice Jesus Castanon, she had back-to-back victories in a 1-mile allowance and the 1 1/16-mile Torrey Pines Handicap. In the Torrey Pines, she defeated Approved to Fly, one of her Linda Vista rivals, and Sticky Wile, who tied the American record for a mile on grass last week.
Edmund Gann's Darby's Daughter also has shown consistency, finishing fourth or better in all five starts this season. Her lone victory in 1989 came in the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar, two weeks before she finished second in the Oaks there.
Most recently, trainer Bobby Frankel took Darby's Daughter to Louisiana Downs, where she was third in the Debartolo Oaks. As a juvenile, she had a string of four stakes victories, capped by the Grade II Miss Grillo at Aqueduct. Her winning streak came to an end when she finished second by a neck to Open Mind in Aqueduct's Demoiselle.
With eight starters, the Linda Vista Handicap will offer a gross purse of $81,975. The winner gets $48,225.
The field (in post position order, jockey and weight): Approved to Fly, Alex Solis, 115 pounds; Flower Ridge, Eddie Delahoussaye, 113; Affirmed Classic, Castanon, 120; Paper Princess, Chris McCarron, 117; Beware of the Cat, Laffit Pincay, Jr., 116; Darby's Daughter, Robbie Davis, 121; Tapping Tudor, Gary Boulanger, 115 and Seaside, Gary Stevens, 116
Paper Princess has been in the money in eight of nine starts this year, including recent back-to-back allowance wins. Flower Ridge has a two-race winning streak after taking six races to break her maiden.