Check out our predictions and odds for the 2021 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park!
|U Rispoli||M McCarthy|
|J Rosario||B Baffert|
|F Prat||R Mandella|
|J J Hernandez||S Ruis|
|R Gonzalez||D O’Neill|
$20 Exacta Part Wheel – Moonlight d’Oro over Kalypso and Moraz = $40
Moonlight d’Oro (9/5)
A stakes winner in two of her last three starts, the Bob Baffert trained Kalypso looms as the one to beat in a compact field of five 3-year-old fillies set for Saturday’s Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
The winner of both the Anoakia Stakes and the Grade 2 Santa Ynez last time, the daughter of Brody’s Cause will be looking for her third stakes win at Santa Anita. In between her two victories, she ran a solid second behind Varda when stretched out to 8 ½ furlongs for the Grade 1 Starlet at Los Alamitos. With her two stakes wins coming at 6 and 7 furlongs respectively, Kalypso will need to prove she can win beyond sprint distances in the one-mile Las Virgenes.
Chief among her competition will be a pair of fillies coming in off impressive maiden victories. After two solid efforts while sprinting, Moonlight d’Oro stretched out to a mile and easily dispatched of her competition in a fast, mile maiden win at Los Alamitos. Since flattered by the fillies she defeated that afternoon, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro figures to be a strong second choice on Saturday.
One of the fillies beaten by Moonlight d’Oro at Los Alamitos was Moraz. Third in that race, while making her debut, the Mike McCarthy trained filly came right back to steamroll her competition going one mile last out at Santa Anita four weeks ago.
The Las Virgenes will offer the top four finishers Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-2-1.
|Las Virgenes Stakes Information|
|What||Las Virgenes Stakes (Grade 2)|
|Where||Santa Anita Park|
|When||Saturday, February 6 — 4:00 pm EST|
|How to Watch||TVG|
As the only stakes winner in the field, I can see why this one is the likely favorite, but I am willing to take a shot against her. I don’t believe the competition in either of her stakes wins were especially strong, and in fact, the filly that ran second behind her last time was easily handled by Moonlight d’Oro in the race before that. Adding to her vulnerability on Saturday, both longshots in this field have plenty of speed and can make life difficult for early, before trying to hold off her main competition late. Having said all that, she has run nothing but well in five career starts and must be respected once again on Saturday.
Despite being only 1-for-3 lifetime, this $620,000 yearling purchase gives every indication of being a good one. She rallied nicely and split horses to get up for second in her debut, and then was bumped while beaten less than two lengths in her second career start. Both of those losses came while sprinting at Del Mar. Stretched out to the Las Virgenes distance of one mile last time at Los Alamitos by Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, she was much the best while leaving good fillies in her wake. Working very well over the track for both her stakes and Santa Anita’s debut, she looks ready to take another step forward in her fourth career start. She has good tactical speed which should allow her to track Kalypso and the speed early before making her move on the turn. She is the top pick.
No match for Moonlight d’Oro in her career debut, this well-bred daughter of Empire Maker made the most of the experience and came right back to rout a maiden field at Santa Anita in her second career start. The maiden breaking victory also came at the Las Virgenes distance. Drawn the rail for Saturday, look for her to drop back to last early in the compact field, and then come running. If the early pace is softened up enough and she has improved leaps and bounds since her first start, she could run by them all. I still favor Moonlight d’Oro, but this is another filly who looks to have a bright future, especially as the distances increase.
With only two career starts under her belt, this filly has proven one thing — that she’s fast. A daughter of Into Mischief, she went right to the lead in both career starts and carved out fast early fractions. In her second start, she proved the game with a 6-furlong win at Santa Anita. On Saturday, she faces big tests in both distance and competition. Given that, I think a repeat of her debut, where she faded a bit down the lane is the most likely outcome, but I have little doubt that she will be out there early, trying to stick around for as long as she can.
Another one with early speed, she turned in her best performance yet last time when she stuck around for a decent third behind Kalypso in the Santa Ynez. Unfortunately for the former claimer, Saturday’s test is both longer and tougher. The daughter of Speightstown has absolutely improved for her new barn the last two starts but still looks to be a bit overmatched in here. I find her hard to recommend.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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