Paradise Woods ($18.20) stamped herself as one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the land and a top contender for the Kentucky Oaks four weeks hence with a dazzling, front-running victory on Saturday in the Grade 1, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, which she won by 11 3/4 lengths over Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman.
This was only the third start for Paradise Woods, her first against winners, and her first around two turns. But the confidence Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella has had in her was rewarded as she made a mockery of the race. She was timed in 1:42.53 for 1 1/16 miles on a track that is fast but has played a bit dull all day. This fig should come up big.
Paradise Woods was second in her debut on Jan. 26, then beat maidens on March 11. She is a daughter of Union Rags.
Abel Tasman was second, with It Tiz Well third.
Paradise Woods earned 100 points toward the Kentucky Oaks. Flavien Prat was up.