Disciplined Hotshot Anna Much the Best in Masters


Photo: Coady Photography

While Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell continues his holdout this season, filly Hotshot Anna delivered an equine performance Sept. 17 similar to the patient running back known for waiting for holes in the defense to develop before speeding through them.

In the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) Monday evening, Hotshot Anna maintained her poise while racing third or fourth along the rail throughout the turn in a well-bunched field of 11 filly and mare sprinters on the synthetic surface. When a gap developed between early leader Code Warrior and presser Lady Alexandra, she took full advantage, accelerating quickly through and on to a 4 1/4-length victory.

Hotshot Anna completed the 6 1/2-furlong test in 1:14.73, nearly matching the track record set by Ami's Mesa in last year's Masters of 1:14.68. Ami's Mesa was back this year, sent off the 8-5 favorite, but she failed to fire in the stretch and finished eighth.

For Hotshot Anna, the Masters marked the most lucrative victory of her career and earned owner-trainer Hugh Robertson a trophy as winning owner and the Masters Stakes jacket as the race's winning conditioner. Robertson loved seeing how Hotshot Anna finished the race.

"When she got a chance, she went through it and finished fine," Robertson said. "I didn't think anyone was going to beat her once she got through."

Hotshot Anna secured a fourth straight stakes win in the Masters following an allowance score on the dirt at Canterbury Park in May, a victory in the Chicago Handicap (G3) on the Arlington International Racecourse Polytrack in June, and a win in the Satin and Lace Stakes in August at Presque Isle Downs. The combined margin of victory in those four wins is 15 1/2 lengths.

Winning jockey Antonio Gallardo said throughout the early going of Monday's test, as Code Warrior raced through a quarter-mile in :22.30 and a half-mile in :44.73 while shadowed by Lady Alexandra, he was confident Hotshot Anna would respond with more when asked.

"I wasn't worried at all, I knew I had a lot of horse," Gallardo said.

Bred in Kentucky by Paul Tackett, Hotshot Anna is one of seven starters, all winners, out of stakes-placed Holy Bull mare Avalos.

Hotshot Anna, second-choice at 2-1, was followed home by longshots Let It Ride Mom, a grade 3 winner, and locally based Crazy Sweet, who secured her first graded-stakes placing. Hotshot Anna paid $6.80, $4, and $3.20 across the board. 

Live Oak Plantation's Let It Ride Mom edged Crazy Sweet by a nose and paid $21.40 to place and $11 to show. Novogratz Racing Stable's Crazy Sweet paid $10.40 to show. Crazy Sweet entered Monday's test off a runner-up finish in the Satin and Lace.