By Emily Shields
The new turf chute at Santa Anita Park will be on display this Saturday in the six-furlong Las Cienegas Stakes (G3). The $100,000 race for fillies and mares goes as Race Nine on a 10-race program. It drew a very well matched seven horse field, which has already scratched down to six as Acting Out was removed from consideration.
#7 Jolie Olimpica (8-5) returns off a layoff since July. The Brazilian-bred filly was an unbeaten Grade 1 winner in her native country before coming to the United States. She debuted here with a win in this race last year when it was 5 ½ furlongs, and then tried a mile but ran second by a half-mile. The Richard Mandella-trainee went on to win here sprinting in May, then ran second in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Jenny Wiley. She is the real deal, winning five of seven with two seconds in her career. Mike Smith will be back aboard.
Mandella’s other trainee is #5 Superstition (6-1), a four-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper. She cost $850,000 as a yearling but has been lightly raced, with five starts, two wins, and two seconds. Flavien Prat will be back aboard the filly, who has won two in a row over five furlongs.
#6 Oleksandra (9-5) is the biggest threat to Jolie Olimpica. The daughter of Animal Kingdom was good enough to beat males in the Grade 1 Jaipur in June at Belmont Park, after winning in Grade 3 company at Keeneland in 2019. She has only run once since June, and that’s when she finished ninth – beaten just five lengths for the win – in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). She is coming off a bullet workout here on the training track for trainer Neil Drysdale.
#4 Lighthouse (5-2) should not be ignored, either. Simon Callaghan trains the LNJ Foxwoods runner, who is coming off a listed stakes win at Kentucky Downs in September. She has been top three in six of her seven lifetime starts; the lone off the board finish came over a route of ground. Umberto Rispoli will ride the gray daughter of Mizzen Mast, who does have a win over this course.
Both #1 Bohemian Bourbon and #2 Charmaine’s Mia are 15-1 on the morning line. Bohemian Bourbon ships in from the East Coast after being trained by Ian Wilkes; she is now in the barn of Michael McCarthy. Charmaine’s Mia was racing in Canada at Woodbine before being transferred to Phil D’Amato.
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