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In a race that as much as anything else underscores the depth of the Bob Baffert stable, his stakes winning Kalypso, who will shorten up out of a second place effort in a Grade I stakes, appears the tepid choice among a field of seven sophomore fillies going seven panels in the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, January 3.
Race 8 at Santa Anita on Sunday, January 3 - Post 7:05 PM
|1||Brilliant Cut||15-1||Ricardo Gonzalez
|3||Exotic West||3-1||Abel Cedillo
|5||Varda||3-1||Drayden Van Dyke
Baffert, who will send out a total of four fillies in the Santa Ynez, has the one-two finishers from an oddly-run Grade I Los Alamitos Starlet on Dec. 5, as his heavily favored Princess Noor, who appeared to be well on her way to victory, was suddenly pulled up at the top of the lane, leaving Kalypso on a lonely lead until rundown by stablemate Varda, who won by 1 ½ lengths at 18-1.
Kalypso, a $240,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-Year-Old In Training Sale purchase in July of 2019, was an impressive gate to wire winner of the ungraded Anoakia Stakes going six furlongs two starts back and will likely go favored in the Santa Ynez, despite the fact she was second to Varda in the Starlet.
In what will be her fifth career start, Kalypso, a Kentucky-bred filly by Brody's Cause, will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario.
A handy 3 ¼ length first out maiden winner going six furlongs Aug. 30, Varda came back to be a well beaten second by Princess Noor in the Grade II Chandelier Stakes at a mile and one sixteenth Sept. 26. In her second time around two turns, she lagged early in the Starlet prior to picking up the pieces late.
Owned by Baoma Corporation, Varda, a New York-bred daughter of Distorted Humor, was purchased for $700,000 at the Ocala Breeders April 2019 2-Year-Old in Training Sale. She has two wins and a second and will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Drayden Van Dyke.
Baffert's third entrant is the Gary and Mary West homebred Exotic West, who showed good speed, battled throughout and seemed to find her best stride late in breaking her maiden going 6 ½ furlongs at first asking by a half length as the 2-1 favorite with Abel Cedillo up.
Although still a maiden following second place finishes in all three of her previous starts, Baffert's Frosteria, a Godolphin homebred filly by Frosted, earned an 82 Beyer Speed figure when second going a flat mile on Dec. 13 and thus holds the best last out Beyer in the field.
With Cedillo riding Exotic West, Frosteria, who sprinted in her first two starts, will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith.
John Sadler's Queengol, second as the 5-2 favorite to Kalypso two starts back in the Anoakia and most recently a well beaten second in a 6 ½ furlong stakes at Del Mar Nov. 14, rates a fighting chance with Flavien Prat aboard and Michael McCarthy's Nasreddine, third, beaten 5 ½ lengths in the Starlet, would appear to be a live longshot with Tiago Pereira up.
Claimed out of a half length win going six furlongs for a maiden $50,000 claiming tag Nov. 20 at Del Mar, Doug O'Neill will roll the dice with Brilliant Cut, a daughter of Champion Sprinter Speightstown.
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