Green Hills Farm’s Chilean-bred Casablanca Smile completed her 2010 campaign with a sparkling seven-length victory in the Oct. 24 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland and will be among the favorites in a field of 11 fillies and mares set to launch their 2011 seasons in the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIIT) Jan. 2 at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard for the Dowager victory and gets a return call for trainer Shug McGaughey in the race run over the same 1 1/2-mile distance on turf. The daughter of Ocean Terrace came to the U.S. from Chile in early 2010 and made three starts here before the Dowager, beginning with a close-up third in the All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs in June. She also finished runner-up in both the 12-furlong Waya Stakes and 11-furlong Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga this past summer.
Casablanca Smile is listed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.
The 5-2 favorite is Swettenham Stud’s 6-year-old Irish-bred Changing Skies with Kent Desormeaux aboard for trainer Bill Mott. The daughter of Sadler’s Wells won the Waya and finished a game second by a head in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Oct. 2. In one start since, she finished fourth as the odds-on favorite in the 12-furlong Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct on Nov. 13.