Vasilika runs win streak to seven in Rodeo Drive Stakes
Courtesy of Steve Andersen of DRF.com
ARCADIA, Calif. – Vasilika made a compelling argument for a $100,000 nomination to the Breeders’ Cup program with her seventh consecutive win in Saturday’s Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita.
Vasilika earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with her win in the $301,035 Rodeo Drive, but the position is available only to horses nominated to the Breeders’ Cup. Vasilika is expected to be made eligible in October, trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer said.
“I think we’ll consider that strongly,” he said. “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”
The fee essentially pays for itself. Vasilika earned $180,000 of the Rodeo Drive purse.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Vasilika ($5.20) closed from fourth in a field of eight to win the Rodeo Drive for fillies and mares by a half-length over a fast-closing Paved, the only 3-year-old filly in the field.
Prat had Vasilika about two lengths behind pacesetter Tisbutadream for the first six furlongs and moved closer to the front on the turn. Cambodia, a four-time stakes winner, and the 8-5 second choice, took the lead on the turn and held a one-length advantage briefly.
Vasilika was quickly alongside Cambodia and took the lead in the final furlong. Vasilika showed her typical rally in the stretch, Prat said.
“As soon as she switches leads, she always gives me a great turn of foot,” he said.
Paved, who was fifth for the first mile, caught the eye at the finish. The Rodeo Drive was her first start against older fillies and mares.
“It was a super finish,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. “I thought she’d like a mile and a quarter.”
Paved will be considered for the BC Filly and Mare Turf. She is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup, but the pre-entry and entry fees cost $60,000.
Cambodia, who was second to Vasilika in the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 1, finished a length behind Vasilika in the longest race of her career.
“She ran a good race,” jockey Drayden Van Dyke said. “I wished she would have relaxed earlier, but otherwise she did everything great.”
Beau Recall closed from last in the final quarter-mile to finished fourth, followed by Amboseli, Sophie P, Queen Blossom, and Tisbutadream.
Vasilika has won 12 of 26 starts and earned $620,595 for the partnership of Hollendorfer, All Schlaich Stables, Gatto Racing, and George Todaro. A 4-year-old filly by Skipshot, Vasilika was claimed for $40,000 in February and subsequently has earned $471,528.
The Grade 1 Rodeo Drive was Vasilika’s debut in a race at the highest level and her second stakes win. Earlier this year, Vasilika won three optional claimers and two starter handicaps.
“She always finishes,” Hollendorfer said. “She’s improved in every race and apparently she’s happy where she is.”
For more of the best horse racing analysis, go to DRF.com. Read up to 30 premium articles free every month! Check it out.
- September 25, 2021
Royal Patronage Scores in Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Earns Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Royal Patronage (FR) landed a thrilling Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket, securing his guaranteed start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
- September 24, 2021
This is the fourth of eight weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
- September 24, 2021
Masekela Heads to Newmarket for Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Masekela (IRE) heads a field of seven in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.