ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014)–Undefeated Streaming, a winner of the Grade I Hollywood Starlet in her second start, Dec. 7, heads a competitive field of eight sophomore fillies in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Las Virgenes at a flat mile.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Streaming was an impressive first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on Nov. 15, and the Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike pressed the pace and won by a convincing 1 ½ lengths in the 1 1/16 miles Starlet, a win that stamps her as the horse to beat Saturday.
Streaming has had six works since the Starlet, her most recent a five furlong move at Santa Anita on Jan. 26 in 59.80–eighth best of 78 at the distance. Owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc., or Edwin McGhee, she’ll be handled for the third consecutive time by Martin Garcia.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will send out the hard-trying Taste Like Candy, who finished second after making the early running in the Starlet and came back to run a hard-luck second to Baffert’s Awesome Baby in the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Santa Ynez on Jan. 4.
Breaking from the rail in the Santa Ynez, Taste Like Candy was relegated to the one-path while a close second to Awesome Baby and when “Candy” was finally able to switch outside the winner inside the sixteenth pole, she surged late, to be beaten by a diminishing half length.
Like Streaming, she’ll be two-turning for the second time in her career and the top pair could well be head and head once again in the early stages.
Owned by Bad Boy Racing, LLC, and Whizway Farms, Taste Like Candy, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride, will be making her fourth career start in partnership with Rafael Bejarano.
Hollendorfer will also send out Peachtree Stable’s Artemis, who showed good tactical speed when breaking her maiden at a mile on Jan. 3. A Kentucky-bred by Empire Maker, Artemis will be making her fourth career start in the Las Virgenes.
Trainer Eoin Harty will also be represented by a pair of fillies in the Las Virgenes–Darley Stable’s homebred stakes winner Arethusa, and Wounded Warrior Stables stakes winning Sushi Empire.
A winner of the 1 1/16 miles Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park Nov. 16, Arethusa broke awkwardly in the Starlet and finished an even fifth, beaten 4 ½ lengths. Well seasoned, the daughter of A.P. Indy has the advantage of having routed in her last four starts. She has a win, a second and a third from five overall starts.
A winner of the one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita Jan. 1, Sushi Empire has routed on turf in her last three starts and will try natural dirt for the first time in the Las Virgenes. Attentive to the pace when third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade III, one mile turf Miesque Stakes Nov. 30, Sushi Empire showed an impressive turn of foot when taking the Blue Norther from well off the pace.
An impressive 6 ½ length gate to wire maiden winner going six furlongs Dec. 29, Fashion Plate will no doubt contribute to a realistic early pace when stretching out for the first time on Saturday. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, LLC and Michael Tabor, Fashion Plate will make her fourth start in the Las Virgenes.
A well beaten third in the Sharp Cat, Saintly Joan ran an improved race in the Blue Norther for trainer John O’Hara. A daughter of Northern Afleet, she broke her maiden going seven furlongs at Santa Anita three starts back on Oct. 13 and will run on natural dirt for the second time in her fifth overall engagement. She is owned by Steve Bajer, Gem, Inc. and Dustin O’Hara.
The complete field for the Las Virgenes, to be run as the seventh on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Saintly Joan, Martin Pedroza, 117; Fashion Plate, Gary Stevens, 117; Arethusa, Corey Nakatani, 117; Artemis, Mike Smith, 117; Earthflight, Tyler Baze, 117; Sushi Empire, Victor Espinoza, 117; Taste Like Candy, Rafael Bejarano, 117, and Streaming, Martin Garcia, 122.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.