Byrony Sets Sights on Goldikova Stakes

The inaugural running of Santa Anita’s  Grade II, $150,000 Goldikova Stakes, for fillies and mares at one-mile on turf has attracted a competitive field of eight and appears devoid of any clear cut standout as The Great Race Place closes out its 24-day Autumn Meet on Sunday.

Favored in four of her last five starts, including a third-place finish at 3-2 in the restricted one-mile turf Swingtime Stakes on Oct. 6, Irish-bred Byrony figures to again be well supported in the Goldikova.

Trained by John Sadler, she’ll be reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who has won twice with her and who was aboard for a close sixth-place finish in the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes going 1 ¼ miles on turf Sept. 29.  Her best stateside efforts have come when she’s stalked the pace at slightly longer distances.  A 4-year-old filly, Byrony is 9-2-0-3 at one-mile on turf and her overall mark is 23-7-1-4.  She has lifetime earnings of $129,690.

Byrony is owned by the Batchelor Family Trust and Partridge.

Three distaffers, Let’s Go Cheyenne, City to City, and Vivo Per Lei, who were off at odds of 7-2, 9-1 and 43-1, respectively, all exit the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes and will be accorded respect in Sunday’s Goldikova.

Owned by Southern Comfort Stable or Scott, Let’s Go Cheyenne had the early Rodeo lead under Bejarano, but folded turning for home, finishing eighth in the 13-horse field, beaten 10 lengths.

The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Tiznow opened up a 12-length lead in the CTT & TOC Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 24, and prevailed in gate to wire fashion by 5 ¾ lengths, getting the 1 3/8 miles on grass in 2:13.50.  Trained by Vladimir Cerin, she has a win and a third-place finish from three starts at one mile on turf.

Let’s Go Cheyenne’s earnings stand at $160,910 from an overall mark of 10-3-3-1.  One dimensional, her strategy is transparent--go to the front and try to make every pole a winning one.  She’ll be ridden for the first time on Sunday by Tyler Baze.

By contrast, City to City was taken far off the early Rodeo Drive pace, as she was seventh, 14 lengths behind Let’s Go Cheyenne after the first quarter mile.  Although she employed a different style, the result was similar, as she finished 10th, beaten 11 ¾ lengths.

A winner of the Grade II, one-mile turf Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 20, City to City was a nose winner of the Grade II, 1 1/8 mile turf John C. Mabee Stakes on Aug. 12, and she was second, beaten 1 ¾ lengths in the Grade II, 1 1/16 mile Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Del Mar as the 5-2 favorite Sept. 3.

City to City and jockey Joel Rosario would no doubt appreciate a fast pace and she appears better suited at the Goldikova distance of one mile.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, City to City is owned by William DeBurgh, Hollendorfer and Mark DeDominico.  A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by City Zip, she is 10-2-3-1 at one mile on grass.  Her overall record is 31-8-6-5, with earnings of $729,726.

Third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar, the John Shirreffs-conditioned Vivo Per Lei was dismissed at 43-1 in the Rodeo Drive and ran like it—finishing 12th, beaten 23 ½ lengths.  The 5-year-old Empire Maker mare sat a close second early but was done at the top of the Camino Real stretch. 

Vivo Per Lei has been in steady training at Shirreffs’ Betfair Hollywood Park base and she’ll be making her third start in Southern California on Sunday.  A one-time winner from five starts at the distance, the Eurowest Bloodstock charge has an overall mark of 16-3-1-2, with earnings of $136,832.

A Group II winner in Turkey on Sept. 1, Rhythm of Light, a 4-year-old English-bred filly by Beat Hollow, is perhaps the biggest question mark in Sunday’s Goldikova.  Trained by Englishman Thomas Dascombe, she’ll get the services of Garrett Gomez for her U.S. debut.

Rhythm of Light carried 132 pounds to victory in winning the Istanbul International Trophy and she’s been assigned 124 pounds on Sunday.  With a win from four starts at one-mile on turf, Rhythm of Light has an overall mark of 16-5-2-1 and earnings of $313,659.  She is owned by Deal, Lowe and Silver.

California-bred A Jealous Woman has been a Cinderella Story for trainer Francis Meza and the Three Cent Stable.  A gate-to-wire winner of the Swingtime Stakes Oct. 6, the 5-year-old mare by Muqtarib was off at odds of 6-1 and was ridden by Brice Blanc.  She is an impressive 7-3-1-1 record at one-mile on turf and has an overall mark of 17-7-2-3, with earnings of $353,256.  A Jealous Woman is in search of her first graded stakes tally.

Hard to Resist, idle since running fourth in the 1 1/16 mile Las Madrinas Handicap on Sept. 22 at Fairplex Park, returns to turf on Sunday and seeks her first stakes win for trainer Peter Eurton and owners Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable, Ciaglia Racing and partners.

Second in the one-mile turf Redondo Beach Stakes on June 10, Hard to Resist was subsequently fifth, beaten two lengths, by the highly regarded Broken Dreams, in the one mile turf Osunitas Stakes July 21.

The complete field for the Goldikova, which will be run as the eighth on a 10-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order:  Vivo Per Lei, Mike Smith 119; Let’s Go Cheyenne, Tyler Baze, 119; Rhythm of Light, Garrett Gomez, 124; Byrony, Rafael Bejarano, 119; City to City, Joel Rosario, 124; Hard to Resist, Julien Leparoux, 119; I Dazzle, Patrick Valenzuela, 119, and A Jealous Woman, Brice Blanc, 119.

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