Review of Buena Vista Stakes, GIIT, at Santa Anita on February 23

Race 8. Buena Vista Stakes, GIIT. For four-year-old and up fillies and mares at 1 mile on turf. Purse $200,000.


PP Filly /Mare Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Take These Chains Tiago Josue Pereira Brad Cox 12/1
2 Ms Bad Behavior Mike Smith Richard Baltas 5/1
3 Zaffinah Rafael Bejarano Jack Carava 12/1
4 Fahan Mura Edwin Maldonado Vladimir Cerin 6/1
5 Compelled Joseph Talamo Thomas Proctor 12/1
6 Amandine Drayden Van Dyke Jeff Mullins 8/1
7 English Dancer Kent Desormeaux Richard Baltas 20/1
8 Elysea’s World Joel Rosario Richard Baltas 4/1
9 Vasilika Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 8/5
10 Streak of Luck Tyler Baze Matthew Chew 20/1

Vasilika has been an absolute win machine since moving into Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn off a $40,000 claim just more than one year ago. She has since scored in 9 of 11 starts, including the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive, the Grade 2 John C. Mabee, the Grade 2 Goldikova, and the Grade 3 Megahertz most recently. The Megahertz was a particularly good effort. Vasilika drew away strongly late despite getting caught four wide on the far turn when rallying, mastering three of the nine opponents she faces Saturday. Vasilika is the one to beat here would be an understatement. She is a very likely winner at a very short price.

Take These Chains showed real potential winning the first three starts of her career decisively, one at Gulfstream and two at Belmont. But something obviously went wrong when she failed at odds-on in her stakes debut, the 2017 Intercontinental, as she did not race again for 17 months. Take These Chains returned in smashing style last fall, dominating an overnight race at Churchill Downs. That made her the strong favorite last time in the Blushing K. D. Stakes, but after pulling an outside trip, she faded after contesting the pace and finished sixth. Take These Chains showed speed in both of her comeback outings, the closing style she employed in her first three wins suggests that is her most effective approach. The pace should be fast and allow her to close on the leaders down the lane. She should finish in top three.

Fahan Mura  is 6-1-0 from seven starts over the local course and is back in her element after being overmatched in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1T) against males on yielding ground. She will have a tough race, she will be challenge for the lead and then have enough to hold off the closers. She should finish in top five.

Elysea’s World makes her seasonal bow off a trainer change from Chad Brown to Richard Baltas. The race distance is a not the ideal distance for Elysea’s World, whose three graded stakes wins have come at nine furlongs. She has the best closing kick in the field. She will need fast fractions to have a chance of being on the board.

Amandine didn’t run poorly in the Megahertz (GIIIT) over the off slop. Prior to that she was didn’t handle the distance or competition in the American Oaks (GIT) at 10 furlongs.

English Dancer has won five of her last seven in New York, Kentucky and California. One of her wins was at this distance over this course, but she has never faced this level of competition.  Her good overall form, however, does suggest that she should finish in top six.

Streak of Luck won four of her 10 turf miles, including two wins, one second and two thirds from her nine Santa Anita turf races to date. She won three of her last five but has not yet won a stakes. She is not at this class level and should not be a factor at the wire.

Our Top Three Picks:

    • Vasilika
    • English Dancer
    • Take These Chains




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