Trainer Leonard Powell set a Santa Anita Park claiming record last Saturday when he put in a $150,000 claim for Nimbostratus, a 3-year-old French-bred filly.

Leonard Powell-Record SA claim
Trainer Leonard Powell, seen here with jockey Rafael Bejarano after the pair won the Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar in 2018, put in a Santa Anita Park-record $150,000 claim for a 3-year-old filly Saturday. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Powell’s claim destroyed the previous record of $125,000, set in 1997. Santa Anita fielded three $100,000 claims this meet — remarkable numbers, even at one of the West Coast’s premier tracks. To put Powell’s claim into perspective, trainers claimed 196 horses to date during Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring Meet that started Dec. 26. The average claiming price was $28,381.38.

Powell made the claim on behalf of his wife, Mathilde, who rode competitively in France as both a flat rider and jumper. A longtime Southern California trainer, Powell hails from Deauville, France. He’s best known as the trainer of gelding Soi Phet, who won 15 races and banked more than $1 million in his 64 career starts.

Miller time again with six-figure claims

Powell claimed Nimbostratus from trainer Peter Miller after she won a six-furlong allowance optional claiming turf race by a neck on Saturday. In January, Miller had one of the three $100,000 horses claimed from him, Magical Thought.

“She has residual value as a broodmare,” Powell told Santa Anita’s Ed Golden. “That was the main reason for claiming her. We have no immediate plans (for her next race). We’ll see how she comes out and find the best possible spot for her.”

Powell buys high after filly’s career-best race

Nimbostratus racked up her career-best 104 Equibase Speed Figure in that Saturday victory; that figure surpassed her Senorita Stakes Equibase figure (a career-low 68) by 36 points. The sophomore daughter of Wootton Bassett owns three victories in 10 career starts (3-1-3). Interestingly, the $150,000 claiming price surpasses Nimbostratus’ career earnings from those 10 starts — $132,878.

Two of her three victories came at Santa Anita: Saturday’s win and another allowance optional claiming race in March. Sandwiched between those that last-place finish in the May 1, Grade 3 Senorita Stakes.

She is 2-1-1 in five starts this year, including a third in the Feb. 14, Grade 3 Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita. That was the filly’s best finish and only in-the-money placing in three graded stakes efforts. Nimbostratus broke her maiden in Ireland last July. That race came in her second start.