Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes takes place at Santa Anita this Saturday, September 29 and serves as a Win and Your In qualifier for the Breeders' Cup on this track in November. Fillies and mares three years old and upward will race 1 1/16 miles on Santa Anita's main track in search of their share of the $250,000 purse.
The Zenyatta will feature an excellent field of nine females including six Grade 1 winners for race 8 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 4:38 PM. Let's take a look at the past performances of all nine entries and what brought them to this Grade 1 race.
2012 Zenyatta Stakes Race Favorites
Include Me Out - has been stellar in 2012 - five starts - four wins including the Grade 2 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap, in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes at Santa Anita on March 17, an impressive 4 1/2 length victory in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes on January 22 and an impressive score last time out in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch August 4. The only blemish this year - a second as favorite in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 16. Include Me Out has six wins, three seconds and a fifth place finish in her last nine starts and has won four of her last five - all starts coming in Grade 1 or Grade 2 races over that span. Include Me Out is definitely the one to beat Saturday!
Switch - Grade 1 winner that broke a slump with a win in the Grade 2 A Gleam July 14. Her last wins prior to the A Gleam were at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 - she hadn't won in eight tries before the A Gleam. Switch had a second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to end a 2011 campaign in which she finished no worse than third in seven starts - one win, four seconds and two third place finishes - all in graded stakes races. 2012 has seen Switch race to a fifth in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes in May, a fourth in the Desert Stormer June 17, that win in the A Gleam and a fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch. Despite some unflattering results she served notice in the A Gleam that she may be back to that winning form - she will be looking for a second Breeders' Cup bid on Saturday.
Zenyatta Stakes 2012 | Remaining Field Entries
Amani - very impressive Chilean filly had a decent third in her North American debut at the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes here on August 4 after 10 wins and a second place finish in 11 career starts in her native land. Last time out was a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on August 26. Amani has been impressive but she has yet to break through on American soil.
Love and Pride - has raced seven times in 2012 - six graded stakes races. Last time out was an uber-impressive win in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign to follow a somewhat disappointing fourth in the Delaware Handicap. Prior to that was a terrific win in the Grade 3 Obeah Stakes on June 16 and a decent second in the Grade 3 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes at Pimlico on May 19. She has six wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in 15 career starts and is another solid contender based on two wins in the last three starts.
Star Billing - has only two starts in 2012 for trainer John Shirreffs - a disappointing eighth in the Redondo Beach Stakes on June 10 was followed by a very pleasant second last time out in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch. Before those her last race was in November - an impressive win at the Grade 1 Matriarch to finish a 2011 campaign in which she placed in six of seven starts - three wins, two seconds and a third place finish
Zenyatta Stakes betting at Santa Anita with OffTrackBetting.com
Joyful Victory - four year old filly with multiple graded stakes win - the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 11 and very impressive wins in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes and the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes last year. Last time out was a good second in the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park to follow a decent third in the Grade 3 Azeri in March. Joyful Victory has been on the radar a while - she was favored in last year's Kentucky Oaks and finished fourth and followed that up with a respectable second in the Grade 1 Mother Goose.
Love Theway Youare - hadn't tasted victory in 11 races before an impressive win in the Grade 1 Vanity two starts ago. Prior to that score she had a sixth in the Marjorie L. Everett, a seventh in the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes in May and an impressive second in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes on March 17. Last time out was a fifth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup but based on her form in the Vanity; Love Theway Youare could be prime for another upset.
Via Villaggio - has 13 career starts and has placed in 11. Last time out was a decent third in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes to follow a good second in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks to Grace Hall and a decent third in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. Before that was an impressive win in the Grade 3 Railbird on May 18 in her cushion track debut. Via Villaggio has placed in her last four starts and will be looking to return to the winner`s circle for the first time since her very good Railbird score.
Miss Mittagong - finished in a dead heat for second at the Santa Maria Stakes on February 18 and followed that up with another impressive outing - a third in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita here in March. After a nearly six month layoff, Miss Mittagong returned to action with a disappointing seventh last time out in the Adoration Stakes.