Unzip Me, a downhill turf course
specialist who has won 6 of 10 starts sprinting over the tricky Santa Anita
strip, will stretch out to a mile for the first time in her 25th
career start at the age of 6. She faces nine rivals in the Valentine Dancer.
The homebred daughter of City Zip has been victorious in nine stakes ranging in
distance from to five to 6 ½ furlongs, all on turf, for Harris Farms, Donald
Valpredo, Per Antonsen and partners.
Despite her inexperience around two
turns, Unzip Me has been established as the 5-2 favorite by Santa Anita morning
line maker Jon White. Bejarano will be aboard for the 11th straight
time as the chestnut mare attempts to expand her horizons for trainer Marty
Jones. With earnings of $902,228 from a 13-4-4 log in her 24 starts, Unzip Me
will be aiming for millionaire status by meet’s end. She has finished off the
board but once in her last 18 races. Even then, she was only one length behind
the winner when running fourth.
Halo Dolly, the 3-1 second choice,
is unbeaten in two starts at one mile on turf. Included was Del Mar’s Solana
Beach Handicap last August when extending a victory streak to five. The
4-year-old daughter of Popular, trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer,
displays an 8-3-1 record in 14 races for winnings of $277,700. Talamo, whose
only previous teaming with Halo Dolly was in the Solano Beach, will again
handle the reins.
The complete field for the Valentine
Dancer Stakes, with jockeys, weights and morning line odds in post position
order: Secret Cove, Rosario, 118, 15-1; Warren’s Got Game, Christian Santiago
Reyes, 116, 20-1; Antares World, Garcia, 120, 9-2; La Sombre, Quinonez, 116,
4-1; Chokecherymary, Nakatani, 116, 10-1; Cayanna, Espinoza, 116, 15-1; Unzip
Me, Bejarano, 120, 5-1; California Nectar, Berrios, 116, 10-1; Halo Dolly,
Talamo, 123, 3-1, and Bench Glory, Brice Blanc, 116, 20-1.