Saturday is the Buena Vista Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park! The Buena Vista is a one mile turf race for fillies and mares four-years old and up. The likes of two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Mizdirection have won this race in the past.
The 2020 edition of the Buena Vista Stakes has drawn a full-sized, star studded field. Competitors have made the trek from all over the world: Jolie Olimpica is here from Brazil, Muchly is here from Great Britain. Horses like Mucho Unusual and Super Patriot are California natives, bred in the state and raced solely at their tracks. Others like Brill and Meal Ticket have raced on both coasts of the United States. Lady Prancelot (IRE) and La Sardane (FR) are globetrotters, having raced in many different countries.
Here is an overview of this field of accomplished ladies:
1. Jolie Olimpica (Drosselmeyer - Jolie Celina, Trempolino) ~ 8/5 Jockey: Mike E. Smith Trainer: Richard Mandella Owner: Fox Hill Farms Breeder: Stud T N T This Brazilian mare has ran fewer races than anyone else in the field, but she certainly doesn’t seem to lack talent. She is undefeated in four starts. Her first three races were won at Gavea Racetrack in Brazil , one being a Grade 3 race and another being a Grade 1. She ran in the Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on January 11th, winning with incredible ease. This gorgeous chestnut mare has been working out very well at Santa Anita. She has the benefit of being piloted by Mike Smith, who won this race with Cozi Rosie (2011) and with Mizdirection (2013). Plus, trainer Richard Mandella has saddled three winners of this race, most recently Wild At Heart in 2017.
[Video: Watch Jolie Olimpica (#3) win the Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita Park]
2. Carressa (Uncle Mo - IPlayTricks, Desert God) ~ 4/1 Jockey: Victor Espinoza Trainer: John A. Sherriffs Owner: Mercedes Stables, West Point TBs, Scott Dillworth, Dorothy Ingordo, David Ingordo, & Steve Mooney Breeder: Michael C. Stinson This daughter of Uncle Mo is no stranger to Santa Anita. She has run at this track four times in her entire six race career. She didn’t finish well in her first two races on Santa Anita’s dirt track, but broke her maiden in her first try at Del Mar. She returned to Santa Anita to finish second in a one mile dirt race before once again returning to Del Mar to win. When they finally put Carressa on the turf, she proved herself very capable at handling the surface -- she took command in the stretch of the Megahertz Stakes (G3) and never looked back! Carressa’s win in the Megahertz Stakes is even more impressive when you realize that she beat four of the horses who are running against her here in the Buena Vista Stakes (Brill, Keeper of the Stars, La Sardane, Super Patriot). Espinoza has piloted two other horses to victory in this race: Final Destination (2003) and Silver Cup (2006). This filly is on the improve!
[Video: Watch Carressa (#1) win the Megahertz Stakes at Santa Anita Park]
3. Muchly (Iffraaj - Ego, Green Desert) ~ 15/1 Jockey: Umberto Rispoli Trainer: Simon Callaghan Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Breeder: Highclere Stud Muchly has never raced in the United States before, but don’t let that completely deter you! This filly is stakes placed over in Europe with her last start being an 9th place finish at Lingfield. She has been training at Los Alamitos for a few months now and doesn’t look bad at all!
4. Mucho Unusual (Mucho Macho Man - Not Unusual, Unusual Heat) ~ 8/1 Jockey: Joel Rosario Trainer: Tim Yakteen Owner & Breeder: George Krikorian Mucho Unusual has run in graded stakes company twice at Santa Anita Park. Her first time was in the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) back in October 2019, a one mile turf race in which she finished third. Her next start on Santa Anita’s turf came in the American Oaks (G1), a 1 ¼ mile turf race in which she finished second behind fellow Buena Vista Stakes contender Lady Prancealot. In the past, this daughter of Mucho Macho Man won the one mile turf San Clemente Stakes (G3) at Del Mar. If Mucho Unusual can perform how she did in the American Oaks or San Clemente rather than how she performed in the tough Matriarch Stakes (G1), she could certainly do well in this race. [Video: Watch Mucho Unusual (#3) win the San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar in July 2019]
5. Sold It (The Factor - Charade, Malibu Moon) ~ 50-1 Jockey: Mario Gutierrez Trainer: Doug O'Neill Owners: Ciaran Dunn and Reddam Racing Breeders: Jeanne Canty, Judy Hicks, Kathryn Nikkel, and Pegasus Stud LLC If you love the greys, you might have a soft spot for this daughter of The Factor. Sold It has never hit the board in graded stakes company, but she did win the California Oaks on Golden Gate’s synthetic surface in 2019 and finished second a one mile turf Allowance race at Santa Anita at the beginning of this year. This $175k Keeneland Yearling purchase has been training well at Santa Anita: she ran 4f in 46.60 (2/92), then 4f in 49.80 (26/52), and most recently 4f 47.40 (1/46).
Though she may be outclassed here, Sold It’s good workouts lately have left reason to believe that she is improving.
6. Meal Ticket (Malibu Moon - Rainbow’s Song, Unbridled’s Song) ~ 15/1 Jockey: Tiago Josue Pereira Trainer: Matthew Chew Owner: Peter Jeong and Keith Johnston Breeder: Glen Hill Farm This five-year old daughter of Malibu Moon has hit the board in one graded stakes race at Santa Anita Park: the Royal Heroine Stakes (G3). She finished second behind Vasilika, who won the 2019 edition of the Buena Vista Stakes earlier in the year. Despite that, she hasn’t been running too well in her recent races on Santa Anita’s turf.
7. Brill (Medaglia d’Oro - Hung the Moon, Malibu Moon) ~ 12/1 Jockey: Geovanni Franco Trainer: Don Chatlos Owner: Oxo Equine LLC Breeder: Southern Equine Stables Medaglia d’Oro has a knack for producing talented daughters (think Songbird and Rachel Alexandra). While Brill isn’t in that league, she is certainly no slouch. She has hit the board in two graded stakes races, one at Santa Anita and one at Pimlico. Most of her races have been on the dirt against the likes of Bellafina and Lady Apple. Brill immediately improved once switched to the turf for the one mile Lady of Shamrock Stakes at Santa Anita, winning against fellow Buena Vista contenders Keeper Ofthe Stars and Sold It. Brill was stepped up in class for the Megahertz Stakes (G3) in January, but weakened in the stretch to finish last. This $1 million Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling purchase will need to perform much better than she did in the Megahertz to hit the board here. [Video: Watch Brill (#2) win the Lady of Shamrock Stakes at Santa Anita Park]
8. Lady Prancealot (Sir Prancealot - Naqrah, Haatef) ~ 5/1 Jockey: Joe Bravo Trainer: Richard Baltas Owner: Craig & Josie Arntz, Donald Durando, Michael & Jules Iavarone, and Jerry McClanahan Breeder: Tally-Ho Stud Irish-bred Lady Prancealot is on a short winning streak right now. She won the Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (G3) at Keeneland last October, which is a 1 1/16 mile race on the turf. She followed that up with a win in the American Oaks (G1) over Mucho Unusual. In the past, Lady Prancealot won the Honeymoon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita and hit the board in both the Senorita Stakes (G3) and Providencia Stakes (G3). Trainer Richard Baltas captured this race with Paulina’s Love in 2016. Given her recent performances and the way she has been training, Lady Prancealot has a good shot at winning this race. [Video: Watch Lady Prancealot (#5) win the American Oaks at Santa Anita. Note that the sound is a bit off in this video]