BALTAS PAIR LADY PRANCEALOT & BODHICITTA HEAD COMPETITIVE GRADE I, $300,000 RODEO DRIVE STAKES FOR FILLIES & MARES AT 1 ¼ MILES ON TURF SATURDAY
RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2020)–Blessed with a pair of talented turf distaffers, trainer Richard Baltas has a big look at Saturday’s Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita, as his Lady Prancealot, a fast closing second in her most recent start, has solid distance credentials, while his Bodhicitta is in top form although distance may be a question. For fillies and mares three and up going a mile and one quarter on turf, Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes has attracted a competitive field of seven fillies and mares.
A winner of the Grade I American Oaks in her only try at the Rodeo Drive distance five starts back on Dec. 28, Lady Prancealot, a 4-year-old Irish-bred filly, is winless in four graded stakes this year, but she flew late to be beaten a diminishing neck at a mile and one eighth on turf Sept. 5 and merits top billing.
With Umberto Rispoli back aboard Lady Prancealot and Flavien Prat with Bodhicitta, these two ultra-talented reinsmen will most certainly renew their rivalry that resulted in Prat taking a 50-49 photo finish for leading rider honors at the recently concluded Del Mar meeting.
The Rodeo Drive is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race qualifier, with the winner to receive a fees-paid berth into the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
Owner: Jerry McClanahan, Michael Iavarone, Parkland Thoughbreds, et al
Trainer: Richard Baltas
A winner of three graded stakes in 16 stateside starts for Baltas, she has been close in nearly all of her races while amassing earnings of $604,841 from an overall mark of 21-5-5-3. With turf master Rispoli back aboard, look for Irish-bred Lady Prancealot to be on the move the final eighth of a mile.
Owner: Calvin Nguyen
Trainer: Richard Baltas
A game nose winner of the Grade II Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf Aug. 8, this 4-year-old English-bred filly has won three out of her last four starts, all with Prat aboard. Second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf two starts back, she’ll try a mile and one quarter for the first time in what will be her 16th career start. With four wins, as many seconds and one third place finish, she has earnings of $265,808.
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing & James D. Branham
Trainer: Simon Callaghan
A winner of two consecutive turf routes at Del Mar, the most recent a neck victory in the CTT & TOC Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 16, she brings a solid recent record to the Rodeo Drive party but she’ll be facing tougher. Ridden by Rispoli in her last two starts, she’ll get the services of eastern-based Luis Saez, as Rispoli appears to have opted for Lady Prancealot. A Grade III winner going a mile on turf at age three, her mile and three eighths win on Aug. 16 lends added encouragement at the Rodeo Drive distance.
THE GRADE I RODEO DRIVE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 11 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
1. Tonahutu–Abel Cedillo–122
2. Maxim Rate–Luis Saez–122
3. Bodhicitta–Flavien Prat–124
4. Mucho Unusual–Juan Hernandez–122
5. Pretty Point–Mike Smith–122
6. Lady Prancealot–Umberto Rispoli–126
7. Catch the Eye–Victor Espinoza–122
First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Although there is no public admittance, fans can follow a live video stream, free of charge, at santaanita.com