There are no Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend, giving a chance for some older horses to grab the spotlight at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and Gulfstream Park outside of Miami.
Two graded stakes races will take place on Saturday, including the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita. The $200,000 turf mile is for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up. It features a rematch of last month’s Megahertz Stakes, also held at Santa Anita.
Vasilika won that race by a length-and-a-half over Ms Bad Behavior. Vasilika, a 7-year-old who has won 14 times in 29 career starts, is the morning-line favorite at 8-5. Ms Bad Behavior is currently third at 5-1 behind Elysea’s World. The Irish 6-year-old, whose odds are currently 4-1, is making her 2019 debut Saturday after winning three of her six races last year.
Zaffinah Seeks First Stakes Win
Another horse to keep an eye on is Zaffinah, also an Irish mare. She finished third in the Megahertz, edged by Ms Bad Behavior. Zaffinah’s odds are currently 12-1. She’s won three times in 15 starts, but she’s yet to win a stakes race.
Her trainer, Jack Carava, told Santa Anita’s Ed Golden that the mile seems to be the right distance for her.
She’s pretty consistent going a mile on turf,” Cavara said. “She’s doing all right even though we were a little sidetracked training because of the weather. I haven’t been able to do as much with her as I’d been hoping, although she doesn’t require a whole lot.”
Post time for the Buena Vista is scheduled for 7:20 pm ET.
Nine Scheduled to Race in Hal’s Hope
Also on Saturday is the Hal’s Hope Stakes, a $100,000 Grade III race at Gulfstream Park in Miami for 4-year-olds and up.
Breaking Lucky is the current morning-line favorite at 2-1. The 7-year-old — who finished second in last month’s Grade III Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream — has won four times, placed in the money 16 times in 26 career starts, and earned nearly $1.2 million.
The second choice is a colt who has not run since May. Quip won last year’s Tampa Bay Derby and finished second in the Arkansas Derby, but in the Preakness got off to a terrible start and finished last in the eight-horse race.
Quip, whose morning-line odds are 4-1, was supposed to make his 2019 debut in last week’s Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds, but trainer Rodolphe Brisset scratched the horse after a “bad draw” in landing the No. 13 gate. Quip will face eight others on Saturday and start from the fifth gate.
“I think he gave so much to us in those two races, maybe he wasn’t ready for what we were trying with him,” Brisset told BloodHorse. “I think right now, we have a horse that has matured well … it’s time to start again and see where he’s taking us.”
Tale of Silence, a 5-year-old, is the current third selection at 5-1, and is also coming off of a long layoff. He last raced in the Grade III Westchester Stakes in May, winning the Belmont Park race by a nose with a hard-charging finish.
Post time for the Hal’s Hope is set for 4:58 pm ET.