ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2018)–Trainers Neil Drysdale and Richard Baltas both appear to be holding strong two-card hands as Madame Stripes, Madam Dancealot, Insta Erma and Juno all rate big chances in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita. With the afore mentioned foursome figuring prominently, a field of nine older fillies and mares has been engaged to compete at a flat mile on turf.
An emphatic 1 ¼ length winner of the Grade III, one mile turf Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 15, Drysdale’s Madame Stripes should be tough right back in a race that appears to have plenty of early pace. Trained by Baltas, Madam Dancealot rallied from far back to be a close second in the Grade I American Oaks at a mile and a quarter on turf here Dec. 30 and will hope to have a similar closing kick as she shortens up in distance.
Second as the even money favorite to Madame Stripes in the Grade III Megahertz, the Baltas-trained Insta Erma appears best suited at the mile turf condition and will likely stalk the early pace. Drysdale’s Brazilian-bred Juno, while winless in 10 stateside starts, has been idle since late October and looms dangerous as she’s won two out of her four starts at one mile on the grass.
Owner: Gainesway Stable Trainer: Neil Drysdale
Off at 7-2, this 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare recovered quickly after breaking a bit slow in the Jan. 15 Megahertz and a repeat of that effort should make her very tough to beat on Saturday. With two wins and three seconds from seven tries at a mile on grass, Madame Stripes has been in the money seven out of eight times on the Santa Anita turf. With Kent Desormeaux at the controls, she’ll once again hope to get the right trip from off the pace.
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing Trainer: Richard Baltas
Last and 10 lengths off the lead in the Grade I American Oaks Dec. 30, she came running late to miss by a half length behind trainer Ken McPeek’s well regarded Daddy’s Lil Darling at a mile and a quarter. A 4-year-old Irish-bred filly, Madam Dancealot has one win from three tries at a mile on turf and is one of several who would be well served by a hot pace.
Owner: Medallion Racing, Premier Racing Club, Jerry McClanahan & Christopher Johnson Trainer: Richard Baltas
Attentive to the pace, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Pioneerof the Nile made the lead turning for home, but couldn’t hold off Madame Stripes late, finishing second by a 1 ¼ lengths in the one mile turf Megahertz Jan. 15. Originally trained by Bill Mott, she was purchased privately last summer and has run four outstanding races for Baltas in Southern California–including a close third place finish two starts back in the Grade I, one mile turf Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 26.
Owner: Team Valor International Trainer: Neil Drysdale
Undefeated in five starts in her native Brazil, this 6-year-old mare came closest to victory in America when allowed to open up on the lead going one mile on turf in the Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes here on April 8, 2017, a race in which she ended up third, beaten three quarters of a length. Given the fact she’s been idle since well beaten in the Grade III Athenia Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Belmont Park Oct. 28, she should show plenty of speed off the bench in what will be her seventh start for Drysdale.
THE GRADE II BUENA VISTA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 10 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT
- Insta Erma–Brice Blanc–120
- Madam Dancealot–Corey Nakatani–122
- Sweet Charity–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Madame Stripes–Kent Desormeaux–122
- Thundering Sky–Rajiv Maragh–120
- Sassy Little Lila–Flavien Prat–120
- Fault–Giovanni Franco–122
- Pricedtoperfection–Mike Smith–120
- Juno–Joe Talamo–120
Note: There will be a special early first post time of 12 noon for a 10-race card on Saturday. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.