Sunday Racing Picks 09/29: Zenyatta Stakes
After a thrilling Saturday of racing at Santa Anita, the $200,000 Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes takes center stage for three-year-old fillies & mares over 1 1/16 miles.
Slotted as another Breeders Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge race for an automatic berth into the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff here on Saturday, Nov. 2, a field of six is set for race 5 of the 8-race card and has an approximate post time of 5:30 p.m. ET.
#1, Secret Spice, Flavien Prat, 8-5
After a bobble at the start as the 6-5 favorite in the $300,000 Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar July 28, Secret Spice fought back, took a head lead midstretch and was outgamed by today’s entrant Ollie’s Candy for a runner-up finish. Flavien Prat is back on the mount for the second straight start and seeks to turn the tables in her 13th career start (3-4-2). She has raced in three straight Grade 1 races, including a win by 2 ¼ lengths over Marley’s Freedom in the $400,000 Beholder Mile Stakes at Santa Anita on March 30. In six starts here, she has posted a 3-1-1-1 record. Prat returns and she will be ready for this. The pick.
#4, Ollie’s Candy, Kent Desormeaux, 9-5
The Hirsch win over Secret Spice was her second on dirt (a neck win in 2018 G2 Summertime Oaks at SA on June 16, 2018). She will be making her ninth career start (4-3-0) and has raced in six straight graded stakes races (2-3-0). Desormeaux returns for his third straight start aboard and will look to stave off Secret Spice in the end. It won’t happen, but another duel between the two will be must-watch TV. Runner-up.
#5, La Force (GER), Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1
La Force, who will be making an impressive 28th career start, has been a force to reckon with during her career (3-8-5). In four starts this year, she is 1-1-1, including a 1 ¼ length win over today’s entrant Paradise Woods in the $200,000 G2 Santa Maria Stakes here on June 1. In her last start, she finished a disappointing seventh (w/Mike Smith aboard) to winner Vasilika in the $200,000 G2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 31, but that race was on turf. Today, she is back on dirt, her favorite surface. Contender.
#3, Paradise Woods, Abel Cedillo, 5-2
In her last five starts, she has finished all over the place (4-2-1-3-5), with her lone win by a whopping 10 ½ lengths (w/Mike Smith aboard) over today’s entrant La Force (GER) in the $200,000 G2 Santa Margarita Stakes here on April 27. Abel Cedillo, who shocked the world Saturday aboard Mongolian Groom ($52.8) to capture the $300,000 Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes over solid favorite and Smith-ridden McKinzie, takes over the mount from Smith and tries to make it two straight stakes races against him in two days. In the mix.
By Lou Monaco