RODEO DRIVE IS ONE OF FIVE GRADE I ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ RACES ON BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE DAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2014)–Hall of Fame conditioner Ron McAnally holds a strong hand with Argentine-bred Miss Serendipity in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter on turf, in what shapes up as perhaps the toughest race on a star-studded 11-race program at Santa Anita.
The Rodeo Drive is one of five Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” qualifying races on Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day at Santa Anita. The winner of the Rodeo Drive earns an automatic berth in the mile and a quarter Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 1.
A game nose winner of the Grade I Gamely Stakes three starts back on May 26, the 6-year-old mare disappointed as the 9-5 favorite in her next out, the Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 10–when without the services of her injured regular rider, Brice Blanc. With Blanc back in the saddle on Sept. 1, she was a stirring 1 ¼ length winner of Del Mar’s Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap on Sept. 1.
In her final race in her native Argentina on June 29, 2013, she responded with a resounding Group I win at a mile and a quarter on turf. Owned and bred by Anselmo E. Cavalieri, Miss Serendipity has made seven stateside starts, all this year, and has two wins, a second and a third. With earnings of $493,608, she is 26-7-6-3 overall.
“She needs to get the right trip and be clear in a big field,” said McAnally on Wednesday morning. “She won at a mile and a quarter last time out in Argentina and set a track record that day (1:57 4/5, under 132 pounds). We’ll give it a try. That’s all you can do.”
Second to Miss Serendipity in the Yellow Ribbon, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Parranda retains the services of high-riding Elvis Trujillo and has run five solid races since joining Hollendorfer earlier this year from South Florida.
Richard Mandella’s Moulin de Mougin is another locally based runner that’s in sharp recent form, having soundly defeated Miss Serendipity in the Grade II John C. Mabee on Aug. 10 and will be ridden back by Mike Smith. The Rodeo Drive marks her first attempt at a mile and a quarter.
Juddmonte Farms homebred Emollient ships west from her New York base for trainer Bill Mott and the daughter of Empire Maker is no stranger to Southern California, having won last year’s Grade I, 1 ¼ miles turf American Oaks at Hollywood Park; finishing a close fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, another fourth in Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ana Stakes March 16, and a heartbreaking, second, beaten a nose by Miss Serendipity, in the Grade I Gamely Stakes three starts back on May 26.
Well beaten in her last two engagements–the Grade I Diana at Saratoga on July 19, and the Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 16, she’ll add blinkers for the first time and try to rebound on Saturday with jockey Rosie Napravnik up.
Cozze Up Lady has run three bang-up races since joining trainer Keith Desormeaux’s barn this past summer and she comes off a close third to Miss Serendipity in her most recent out, the Grade II Yellow Ribbon on Sept. 1. A 5-year-old mare by Cozzene, she’s a three-time stakes winner with seven wins from 18 starts and earnings of $406,919.
Desormeaux and his Hall of Fame younger brother, Kent, have proven to be a potent combination over the past few months and they’ll once again team-up on Saturday with “Cozze Up.”
The complete field for the Rodeo Drive Stakes, to be run as the seventh race on an 11-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Cozze Up Lady, Kent Desormeaux, 119; Famous Alice, Drayden Van Dyke, 116; Moulin de Mougin, Mike Smith, 119; Bee Brave, Tyler Baze, 119; Scarlet Strike, Joe Talamo, 119; Rusty Slipper, Aaron Gryder, 119; Emollient, Rosie Napravnik, 121; Parranda, Elvis Trujillo, 119; Irish Mission, Corey Nakatani, 119; Charlie Em, Martin Garcia, 119; Stormy Lucy, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Bunairgead, Victor Espinoza, 119; Miss Serendipity, Brice Blanc, 124, and Queen of The Sand, Alex Solis, 119.