2024 Las Virgenes Stakes Entries at Santa Anita
G3 Las Virgenes Offers 42 Kentucky Oaks Qualifying Points
Richard Mandella's Kopion and Bob Baffert's Kinza, a pair of dazzling maiden winners, stretch out and head a competitive field of five sophomore fillies and mares going one mile on the main track in the Grade III, $100,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, February 10.
(Originally scheduled to be run this February 4, the Las Virgenes was rescheduled for this Saturday due to record rainfall).
An important prep to both the Santa Anita Oaks and Kentucky Oaks, the Las Virgenes provides a total of 42 KY Oaks qualifying points, with 20 to the winner and 10, six, four and two points assigned on down to fifth place.
2024 Las Virgenes Stakes Field & Odds
Race 5 at Santa Anita on Saturday, February 10 - Post 5:30 PM
|Nothing Like You
|She's a Tempest
|Great Forty Eight
In a coin flip, Kopion gets the top nod, as she not only demonstrated keen natural speed in her second start, but the ability to ration it, in prevailing over three rivals going seven furlongs by 5 ¾ lengths here on Jan. 7.
Breaking from the rail with Flavien Prat, who rides back on Saturday, Kopion broke like a shot, shied a bit coming out of the seven furlong chute, but settled into a nice rhythm in winning with consummate ease as the 1-5 favorite.
A $270,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Kopion is by Omaha Beach out of the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Ami and is owned by Spendthrift Farm, LLC.
With Prat back aboard for the third time, he'll have to play the break and then likely engage in a cat and mouse game plan as Baffert's Kinza could well be the speed of the speed.
Dismissed at 5-1 in her six furlong maiden debut Dec. 29, Kinza broke sharply and was pressured by Peter Eurton's Ms Bo J to her outside but gained the advantage a half mile from home and couldn't have been more impressive thereafter as she came away from 10 rivals in mid-stretch in eye-catching fashion, winning off by 7 ½ lengths under Juan Hernandez, who rides her back on Saturday.
A $350,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase this past May, Kinza, who is owned by Michael Lund Petersen, is by Carpe Diem and is out of the Quality Road mare Secret Wonder.
In considering her capacity to stretch out to a flat mile, her gallop out following the maiden score was equally as impressive as her winning margin, as it appeared Kinza was a football field clear of the field by the time she hit the mid-way point on the Club House turn.
A gutty nose winner from off the pace of the ungraded Desi Arnaz going seven furlongs two starts back at Del Mar Nov. 18, Baffert's Nothing Like You unleashed a dazzling gate to wire run stretching out to a mile and one sixteenth in the Grade II Starlet at Los Alamitos Dec. 9, winning by 5 ¼ lengths lengths while earning a 79 Beyer.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon out of the Brother Derek mare Miss Derek, Nothing Like You aired by 6 ½ lengths in breaking her maiden at one mile three starts back on Oct. 14 and is well-seasoned, winning three races and placing second once from six starts.
With Juan Hernandez opting to stick with Baffert's Kinza, Frankie Dettori has the riding assignment on Saturday. Owned by Georgia Hunt, Jeff Giglio and John Rogitz, Nothing Like You seeks her fourth win and third stakes victory in a row.
Second, beaten 5 ¼ lengths by Nothing Like You in the Grade II Starlet Dec. 9 at Los Alamitos, Tim Yakteen's Great Forty Eight will hope to be running on late as she takes on tougher fillies this Saturday. Owned by Firebird Racing, LLC, Great Forty Eight broke her maiden going a flat mile two starts back on Nov. 12 at Del Mar and had been ridden by the recently departed J.G. Torrealba in her last four starts.
With Kazushi Kimura taking over on Saturday, Great Forty Eight, who is by Constitution out of the Exchange Rate mare Angelo's Ashes, has a win and a second from five overall starts.
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MANDELLA'S KOPION TAKES ON BAFFERT PAIR
Among a trio of graded stakes Saturday at Santa Anita is an intriguing edition of the GIII Las Virgenes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on dirt. Originally slated as part of last Sunday's card, which was canceled due to rain, the rescheduled Las Virgenes includes GII Starlet winner Nothing Like You and a pair of unbeaten fillies, Kinza and Kopion, who will each be trying two turns for the first time.
Nothing Like You and Kinza are both trained by Bob Baffert. Kopion hails from the Richard Mandella barn. Both Hall of Fame trainers recently provided insight into Saturday's matchup.
Kopion improved to 2-for-2 for Mandella when romping by 5 ¾ lengths in the GIII Santa Ynez going seven furlongs here Jan. 7. Previously, she won her bow going 6 ½ furlongs at Del Mar Nov. 26.
As impressive as Kopion has been in both starts, Mandella acknowledged the waters get much deeper on Saturday.
"This is a tough race, there are some new players in there," Mandella "I just hope she continues to progress."
Mandella does not foresee the added distance of the Las Virgenes as being a problem for Kopion, who was a $270,000 auction buy as yearling for owner Spendthrift Farm. Kopion's pedigree suggests likewise. She is by Omaha Beach out of unraced Galloping Ami, who is a daughter of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop.
"It's just one more turn," Mandella quipped of the Las Virgenes. "But really, she doesn't give us any feeling that it should be an issue."
The confidence expressed by Mandella in Kopion's ability to get the distance wasn't necessarily matched by Baffert when it comes Kinza. In Kinza's only previous start, she blitzed six furlongs in 1:09.79 to crush a field of maidens by 7 ½ lengths here Dec. 29. The effort returned a field-high 96 Beyer Speed Figure.
By Carpe Diem out of the Quality Road mare Secret Wonder, Kinza was a $350,000 auction buy last year for owner Michael Lund Petersen,
"Kinza, I'm not sure about the distance," Baffert said. "She is really fast. I think a mile maybe. There really isn't anything else for her in a while. We'll see if she can do it.
"But she has been working well and relaxing well," he continued. "If she can handle it, then we'll have a lot more options."
Kinza is installed as the even-money favorite on Jon White's morning line. Kopion is the second choice at 6-5.
Nothing Like You, the 6-1 co-third choice, is the most experienced in the field with three wins from six starts. Prior to her 5 ½-length romp in the GII Starlet going 1 1/16 miles at Los Alamitos Dec. 9, the daughter of Malibu Moon won the seven-furlong Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 18.
"She's a big, tall filly. Distance is no problem for her," Baffert said.
The Las Virgenes goes as the fifth race Saturday with post time at approximately 2:30 p.m. PT. The field in post position order: Nothing Like You, Frankie Dettori (6-1); She's a Tempest, Tiago Pereira (6-1); Kinza, Juan Hernandez (1-1); Kopion, Flavien Prat (6-5); Great Forty Eight, Kazushi Kimura (20-1).