Brazilian-bred Jolie Olimpica, ultra impressive in her U.S. debut, seeks to remain unbeaten as she heads a field of 12 older fillies and mares going one mile on turf in the Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, February 22.
Recent Grade I winner Lady Prancealot, Grade III winner Carressa, and recent graded stakes-placed fillies La Sardane and Mucho Unusual all lend tremendous depth to what figures to be an enticing betting race on Saturday.
||Jolie Olimpica (BRZ)
||Lady Prancealot (IRE)
||La Sardane (FR)
||Keeper Ofthe Stars
||Drayden Van Dyke
A Group I winner going one mile on turf in her final Brazilian start on June 9, 2019, this 4-year-old daughter of Drosselmeyer was off as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf Jan. 11 and despite bobbling at the break, sat a close second to the far turn and won easily, prevailing by 1 1/4 lengths under Mike Smith, who rides back on Saturday.
Favored while unbeaten in all four of her career starts, Jolie Olimpica, who earned a Buena Vista-best 101 Beyer Speed figure in the Las Cienegas, has the look of a budding superstar for Mandella.
Owner: Fox Hill Farms, Inc. | Trainer: Richard Mandella
This 4-year-old Irish-bred filly exhibited an impressive turn of foot in winning the Grade I American Oaks at 1 ¼ miles on turf Dec. 28 as the 8-5 favorite under Joe Bravo, who has ridden her to two consecutive wins.
A Grade III stakes winner going 1 1/16 miles on turf two starts back at Keeneland Oct. 18, Lady Prancealot has one win and three seconds at a flat mile turf as she seeks her third consecutive victory on Saturday with eastern-based Bravo back in town to ride.
Owner: Craig Arntz, Josie Durando, Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone & Jerry McClanahan | Trainer: Richard Baltas
Keen early, this 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly made the lead approaching the quarter pole and prevailed by three quarters of a length going one mile on turf in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes here on Jan. 20, which was her first start on grass.
An imposing physical specimen, Carressa, who refused to be passed on the gallop out around the Club House turn, was an emphatic 8 ¼ length allowance winner on dirt two starts back at Del Mar Nov. 22 and should only improve in her second grass try on Saturday.
A winner of three out of her six starts, she's a rapidly improving horse for Shirreffs.
Owner: Mercedes Stables, LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, Scott Dilworth, Dorothy Ingordo & Steve Mooney | Trainer: John Shirreffs
A 6-year-old French-bred mare, she comes off a solid third, beaten one length by Carressa in the Grade III Megahertz, a race in which she was moving well just in behind the winner around the far turn.
A winner of three out of her first four starts for Drysdale, including a Grade III win at Belmont Park on June 7, 2018, La Sardane has been winless in her last seven starts but appears to be coming to her best in what will be her 19th career start.
A Group II winner at a mile on turf in her final French start on June 4, 2017, La Sardane is 18-5-3-2 overall with earnings of $352,073.
Owner: Team Valor International | Trainer: Neil Drysdale
Bred in California by her owner, this 4-year-old filly by Mucho Macho Man may've been unlucky to lose the opening day Grade I American Oaks, as Joel Rosario was forced to steady sharply coming by the Grandstand the first time around.
Despite being shuffled back, Mucho Unusual was attentive to the pace, made the lead three sixteenth of a mile out and finished second by a half length to Lady Prancealot.
The lone Cal-bred in the field, Mucho Unusual, who took the Grade II San Clemente Stakes five starts back this past July at Del Mar, rates an upset chance with Rosario riding back in the Buena Vista.
Owner: George Krikorian | Trainer: Tim Yakteen