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EVITA ARGENTINA EYES HISTORY AGAINST MALES IN SAN VICENTE; MODERN LOOK HEADS BUENA VISTA ON PRESIDENTS' DAY PROGRAM
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2009) – Should Evita Argentina -- the most accomplished of ten entrants – emerge victorious Monday in Santa Anita’s 68th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds, her achievement would have been unmatched in 62 years.
Only two fillies have ever won the seven-furlong event, and the last was Rex C. Ellsworth’s Hubble Bubble in 1947, just two years after the race was taken by Louis B. Mayer’s Busher, a Hall of Famer named Horse of the Year when a 3-year-old filly.
The historic San Vicente is co-featured on the special Presidents’ Day racing program along with the 22nd running of the Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Juddmonte Farms, trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Garrett Gomez, who combined to capture last year’s Buena Vista with Costume, will seek a repeat on Monday with another British-bred import, Modern Look.
A winner of 4 of 8 starts in Europe including Group II and Group III stakes, Modern Look, a 4-year-old filly, will bear high weight of 119 pounds among 14 entrants in the Buena Vista.
John Sadler, who trains Evita Argentina, explained the decision to run the Candy Ride filly against males. “She’s a late running sprinter,” he said. “This was really the only race for her, so we’re going to give it a try.”
The chestnut filly, owned by breeder Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds, is coming off a pair of seven-furlong efforts, a last-to-first win in Hollywood Park’s Moccasin Stakes and a fast-closing second in Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 17.
Gomez, aboard in the Santa Ynez, will be back in the irons when Evita Argentina tackles the boys while bringing along a record of 3-1-0 from six starts for earnings of $234,900.
Her date with history could put her in august company. Hubble Bubble also won the Santa Anita Oaks in 1947 when it was called the Santa Susana Stakes. Her San Vicente victory, in which she defeated On Trust, came via the disqualification of Stepfather. Busher, whom the legendary John Longden consistently referred to as the best filly he ever rode, won 10 of 13 starts at the age of three before eventually retiring with a 15-3-1 record in 21 races.
Evita Argentina’s male competition in the San Vicente includes Congor Bay, recent winner of Santa Anita’s San Pedro Stakes, and Gallant Son, a winner of three stakes races in Washington before finishing seventh to Midshipman, beaten by 3 ½ lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Oct. 25. The three share high weight of 117 pounds.
With several speed merchants in the field, including Wall Street Wonder as well as the Jeff Mullins trained duo of Gato Go Win and Leedstheway, Evita Argentina figures to have ample pace to set up her customary late charge.
The complete field for the San Vicente Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Wall Street Wonder, Joel Rosario, 115; Cut the Check, Jose Valdivia Jr., 115; Gato Go Win, Michael Baze, 115; Evita Argentina, Garrett Gomez, 117; Gallant Son, Leslie Mawing, 117; Smokey Lonesome, Isaias Enriquez, 115; Congor Bay, Patrick Husbands, 117; Point Attended, Corey Nakatani, 115; Ventana, Rafael Bejarano, 115, and Leedstheway, Tyler Baze, 115.
In making her United States debut after earning $262,693 from seven starts in France and one in England, Modern Look faces a difficult assignment in the Buena Vista against the likes of Foxysox and Magical Fantasy.
Winless in five races in England in 2005, British-bred Foxysox went on a tear after being purchased by Warren Williamson and joining the barn of Carla Gaines. She won her first four U.S. starts including a pair of Grade III competitions. The 6-year-old mare is coming off a victory in Santa Anita’s Grade III Tuzla Handicap on Jan. 25, her fifth graded stakes triumph in this country. Rafael Bejarano rides the daughter of Foxhound who has compiled a career record of 7-2-4 in 24 starts for earnings of $681,118.
Magical Fantasy’s last four races have been against Grade I company and include a 42-1 upset in the Del Mar Oaks last summer. Another British import but bred in Kentucky, the 4-year-old daughter of Diesis has earned $274,431 from a lifetime mark of 2-3-0 in 11 starts. Alex Solis rides the chestnut filly trained by Paddy Gallagher for David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach and Charles Winner.
The Buena Vista will mark the 48th and final career start for 6-year-old I Can See, who is headed for the breeding shed. The one-eyed mare is due to be bred to Exchange Rate at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky. I Can See hasn’t been big on winning with but four victories, but she almost always could be counted on for a game late run no matter the competition.
The complete field for the Buena Vista Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Foxysox, Bejarano, 118; Jibboom, Pedro Arambula, 117; Belmont Cat, Rosario, 115; I Can See, Aaron Gryder, 115; Miss Singhsix, Martin Garcia, 114; Santa Teresita, Michael Baze, 114; Tizfiz, Agapito Delgadillo, 118; Modern Look, Gomez, 119; Annie Skates, Joseph Talamo, 113; Charming Legacy, Tyler Baze, 114; Magical Fantasy, Alex Solis, 118, and Bahama Mama, David Flores, 115. Also eligible: Trouble Maker, Victor Espinoza, 113, and Highland Torree, Garcia, 113.
The San Vicente is scheduled as the seventh race on a nine-race program with the Buena Vista going as the eighth. The entire card will be televised by HRTV. -30-