, winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 6 ½
furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Nov. 3, towers over
five rivals in Saturday’s Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes down the hill as
she shortens up from a solid one mile turf win in the Grade II Buena
Vista Stakes on Feb. 18 and seeks her fourth consecutive win dating back
to her Breeders’ Cup triumph versus males.
Undefeated in four tries down the hillside, Mizdirection went
over the $1 million mark in earnings with her gate to wire score in the
Buena Vista and will seek her 10th win from 15 career starts in the Las
Cienegas, which is for older fillies and mares.
“She likes to play, that’s a great way to put it,” said part
owner and sports talk superstar Jim Rome following Mizdirection’s 2 ¼
length score in the Buena Vista. “She’s so competitive. The way she
dug in through the stretch was awesome. She’s amazing.”
Trained by Mike Puype, Mizdirection, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred
mare by Mizzen Mast, is again being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Turf
Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
With regular rider Mike Smith committed to ride War Academy in
Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, Mizdirection will be handled by veteran David
Flores, who guided Mizdirection to victory in last year’s Las Cienegas.
In addition to Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, Mizdirection is owned
by Strauss or Grohs and partners. Her overall record stands at
14-9-4-1, with earnings of $1,094,621.
In addition to Mizdirection, Puype will send out the up and
coming Schiaparelli, a lightly raced 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by
Ghostzapper, who comes of a big 3 ½ length second condition allowance
win down the hillside on March 14.
Bred to love the hillside turf course, Schiaparelli is out of
the multiple graded stakes winning Cambiocorsa, who won the 2006 Las
Cienegas and who was an amazing eight for nine over the course. Owned
and bred by Ranjan Racing Inc., Schiaparelli has $120,864 in earnings
from an overall mark of 6-3-0-2.
She’ll be ridden by Joe Talamo, who has been aboard for all six
of her career starts—including two wins from three starts down the hill.
Trainer Tom Proctor will send out the hard-hitting Purim’s
Dancer, who comes off a 3 ¼ length win down the hill in the restricted
Wishing Well Stakes on Feb. 10. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by the
Dynaformer stallion Purim, Purim’s Dancer was much the best in the
11-horse Wishing Well under Gary Stevens. With Stevens committed to
ride Oxbow in the Arkansas Derby, she’ll be ridden for the first time by
Tyler Baze on Saturday.
Owned by Donnelly, Johnson, Kohn and partners, Purim’s Dancer is
undefeated in three starts down the hill and is 6-4-0-1 overall with
earnings of $117,960.
Although a well beaten ninth in the Wishing Well, French-bred
Givine was third, beaten just 2 ¼ lengths, by Mizdirection in the Grade
II Monrovia Stakes down the hillside on Jan. 6.
Owned by Marsha Naify, the 6-year-old mare will get a new rider
in Martin Pedroza. Winless in eight tries down the hill, she is
24-6-4-4 overall and has good tactical speed if required. Trained by
Julio Canani, she has earnings of $253,530.
Trainer Sean McCarthy will send out Harris Farms’ homebred Bench
Glory, who overcame a 50-week absence to win the $100,000 Irish O’Brien
Stakes down the hillside on March 17. A 6-year-old California-bred mare
by Benchmark, she was a handy 1 ¼ length winner of the Irish O’Brien
(for older fillies and mares bred in California) at odds of 15-1.
Ridden in all 10 of her lifetime starts by Brice Blanc, Bench
Glory is 4-2-1-1 down the hill and will hope to employ her considerable
stretch kick on Saturday. She has earnings of $209,272 from an overall
mark of 10-4-1-2.
A 5-year-old mare by Good Journey, Dancingtothestars is the
second California-bred in the Las Cienegas lineup and she ran an even
third, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Bench Glory, in the statebred Irish
O’Brien. Two starts back, she was second to Purim’s Dancer in the
Owned by her breeder, Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds Inc.,
Dancingtothestars is trained by Doug O’Neill and will be ridden for the
first time by Kevin Krigger, as the Santa Anita Derby-winning
trainer/jockey combination shoots for graded stakes victories on
Winless in three tries down the hill, Dancingtothestars is 12-4-3-3 overall, with earnings of $235,056.
The complete field for the Las Cienegas Stakes, to be run as the
eighth race on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights
in post position order: Purim’s Dancer, Tyler Baze, 118; Schiaparelli,
Joe Talamo, 118; Dancingtothestars, Kevin Krigger, 118; Givine, Martin
Pedroza, 118; Bench Glory, Brice Blanc, 118, and Mizdirection, David