Thursday, January 30, 2014
Streaming looks to stay perfect
Streaming has yet to be defeated in two races and on Saturday will try to make it three when heading a field of eight in the Grade 1, $300,000 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita Park.
While a steppingstone on the road to the Grade 1, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, the one-mile race for three-year-old fillies is prestigious in its own right and will award points toward a starting berth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Streaming was favored at 1-2 to win her maiden debut at Hollywood Park on November 15, getting the job done by 1 ½ lengths, but was sent off at 10-1 when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Hollywood Starlet last out. The Bob Baffert trainee easily scored on that day in early December to take her stakes debut under Martin Garcia, who will be back aboard Saturday as the bay miss breaks from the far outside post.
Streaming appears heads and tails above her competition based on those two races, but the Smart Strike filly will be trying dirt for the first time on Saturday against fillies with prior winning experience over the track. Among those are Taste Like Candy and Fashion Plate.
The former was a 6 ½-length debut winner at Santa Anita last October, and closed out her juvenile campaign when second behind Streaming in the Starlet. Taste Like Candy returned on January 4 to post a half-length second in the 6 ½-furlong Santa Ynez and could relish the extra distance on Saturday with regular rider Rafael Bejarano aboard for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Fashion Plate took three tries to break her maiden, dropping her initial two starts over synthetic tracks at Del Mar and Hollywood before breaking through with a 6 ½-length wire job on December 29 at Santa Anita. Conditioned by Simon Callaghan, the dark bay daughter of Old Fashioned earned a field-best 97 BRIS Speed rating for that effort and would be tough to run down with a repeat of that form. Gary Stevens in the saddle only adds to her appeal.
Arethusa ran fifth in the Starlet last out, but before that was a 8 ¼-length winner of the Sharp Cat in mid-November. The Eoin Harty-trained chestnut placed in both of her races at Santa Anita and could use that experience for a winning rally on Saturday. Also in with a chance is Artemis, a track-and-distance maiden scorer on January 3, and English import Earthflight, a romping winner in her past two starts at Wolverhampton.
Saintly Joan, third in the Sharp Cat two back, and recent Blue Norther victress Sushi Empire complete the Las Virgenes field.
Sharing the card with the Las Virgenes is the Grade 2, $200,000 Arcadia sending a competitive group of 10 a mile on the Santa Anita turf.
Suggestive Boy will be returning in this spot following a more than 11-month layoff. The Ron McAnally charge was last seen taking the Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 2, and prior to that was a 2 ½-length winner of this same race. The Easing Along six-year-old has been ready for action off long breaks in the past, and will keep Joe Talamo aboard for Saturday's contest.
Vagabond Shoes will also be coming off a vacation, though not as long as Suggestive Boy. The Irish-bred son of Beat Hollow was a well-beaten ninth in last year's Arcadia but really came on during the spring and concluded his six-year-old campaign with a win in the Del Mar Handicap and placings in the Eddie Read and John Henry Turf Championship.
The John Sadler pupil just missed in the Breeders' Cup Turf last out by 2 ¼ lengths after being just a head behind the leader in the stretch and could enjoy the cutback in distance here with Victor Espinoza returning to the irons.
Others of note in the Arcadia include stakes scorer Procurement, a head second in the Sir Beaufort most recently; multiple Grade 3 hero Unbridled's Note; and multiple Group 1-winning Winning Prize, who is exiting a close third in the Citation Handicap in late November.