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Cambina Likely Favorite in Buena Vista

Irish-bred Cambina, beaten by less than three lengths in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, will carry high weight of 120 pounds and likely favoritism into Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap on Monday’s special Presidents’ Day program.

 

Mike Smith will take over in the saddle for injured Garrett Gomez when the 4-year-old chestnut filly returns to action against ten of her contemporaries in the 25th running of the one-mile turf event for older fillies and mares.

 

Despite an eighth place finish in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup competition, Cambina was within hailing distance of 27-1 upset winner Perfect Shirl in the championship day contest over 1 3/8 miles at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

 

She has won 3 of 5 starts over Santa Anita’s turf course, which accounts for half of her victories in a 15-race career. And the one-mile distance has produced two of those wins. One year ago at Santa Anita, Cambina rattled off three straight victories at distances ranging from the 6 ½ furlongs of the Grade III La Habra Stakes to the 1 1/8 miles of the Grade II Providencia.

 

Trained by Jeff Bonde, Cambina will be giving one pound to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s City to City in the Buena Vista while breaking from post position No. 3. She will be attempting to end a three-race losing streak following a dead-heat victory in Hollywood Park’s Grade I American Oaks last July 16. “She should run well,” commented Bonde.

 

Overall, Cambina has posted a 6-1-2 record in 15 starts, all on turf, for earnings of $390,426. She is owned by the partnership of George Schmitt, Rick Mace, Anthony Bilich and Jason and Steve Cline.

 

Cambina got the better of City to City when they met in Santa Anita’s Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on Oct. 1. Cambina checked in fifth, 2 ½ lengths behind the winner, Dubawi Heights. City to City wound up seventh, 1 ¾ lengths behind Cambina.

 

City to City, who will be ridden for the first time by Corey Nakatani, has disappointed as the favorite in her last two starts: a fourth in the Grade II Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita and a fifth in the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park.

 

A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare sired by City Zip, City to City has won 2 of 6 starts over Santa Anita’s turf course for William DeBurgh and co-owner Hollendorfer. She has accumulated an overall record of 6-5-5 in 23 starts for earnings of $413,491.

 

British-born trainer Neil Drysdale may have uncovered a nugget in Chilean-bred import Vamo a Galupiar, if her performance in Santa Anita’s Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 21 is a valid indication. With Joe Talamo aboard, Vamo a Galupiar rallied from last, 15 lengths off the pace, to win the one-mile turf event by 3 ¼ lengths. It was just the sixth start for the 5-year-old mare including a dull seventh-place finish in her U.S. debut, Hollywood Park’s Grade III Wilshire Handicap won by Dubawi Heights in April of last year.

 

“She got tired and she wasn’t quite right,” Drysdale said in reference to the Wilshire. “Then she bruised something behind. It wasn’t any big deal. She just needed time.” At 11-1, Vamo a Galupiar gave a breathtaking display upon her return in the Megahertz. “That’s a nice mare,” Talamo said afterward. “She’s got a tremendous turn of foot. When she switched leads, she just exploded.” Owned by Robert S. Evans, the winner of 3-of-4 starts in Chile has earned $100,512.

 

Trainer Ben Cecil will send out three entrants in the Buena Vista including British-bred import Strawberrydaiquiri. The gray daughter of Dansili faded to tenth after leading early in her North American debut last Oct. 16, the Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes over a yielding turf at Woodbine Race Course in Canada.

 

The 6-year-old mare had been a leading filly in England during her 3 and 4-year-old seasons while trained by Sir Michael Stoute. During a stretch of seven races in 2009 and into 2010, she won six times. Her wins included Group II and Group III events. Strawberrydaiquiri ran second to Sahpresa in Newmarket’s Group I Sun Chariot Stakes on Oct. 2, 2010 before being shipped to the United Arab Emirates.

 

She is winless in eight starts since June of 2010, but has faced many of world’s leading female runners during that span. Strawberrydaiquiri brings earnings of $430,676 from a 6-2-1 record in 16 starts into her United States debut. Joel Rosario will be aboard for owner Fawzi A. Nass.

 

Cecil, a transplanted Brit, also will saddle Irish-bred Andina, winner of Del Mar’s Osunitas Stakes last July, and So Belle, a British-bred who has won her last two starts over the Santa Anita grass while facing allowance company.

 

The complete field for the Buena Vista Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Wild Mia, David Flores, 116; Strawberrydaiquiri, Joel Rosario, 117; Cambina, Mike Smith, 120; Camille C, Kayla Stra, 113; Vamo a Galupiar, Joseph Talamo, 117; Sweetly Peppered, Kevin Krigger, 115; Up In Time, Brice Blanc, 117; Andina, Frederic Lenclud, 117; City to City, Corey Nakatani, 119; So Belle, Chantal Sutherland, 114, and Briecat, Victor Espinoza, 118. Also eligible: Secret Cove, Eswan Flores, 112.

 

 

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