Undefeated Astute takes on Princess Noor in G1 Starlet at Los Alamitos

Undefeated Astute takes on Princess Noor in G1 Starlet at Los Alamitos
Photo: Benoit Photo

Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will seek his first win in the $300,000 Starlet Saturday at Los Alamitos when he sends out the undefeated Astute in the final Grade 1 of 2020 for 2-year-old fillies.

The race at 1 1/16 miles is being offered at Los Alamitos for the seventh time after 33 renewals as the Hollywood Starlet (1981-2013) at Hollywood Park.

Post time is 12:30 p.m. The Starlet is the fifth of nine races and has an approximate post time of 2:30 p.m.

Owned by LNJ Foxwoods, Astute, a daughter of Speightstown and the Langfuhr mare Discerning, went gate-to-wire in her Oct. 12 debut on turf, then moved to dirt and stretched out an extra eighth of a mile to win the 6 ½ furlong Desi Arnaz Stakes by 7 ½ lengths Nov. 14 at Del Mar.

Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who won the 2015 Starlet with Street Fancy, retains the mount on Astute, who has banked $93,000.

Seeking his fourth consecutive victory in the Starlet, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert entered a trio – Princess Noor, Kalypso and Varda.

A $1.35 million purchase at the OBS sale in April by Zedan Racing Stables Inc., Princess Noor suffered her first loss in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 6 at Keeneland after beginning her career with three easy wins in California.

A Not This Time filly out of the Wilko mare Sheza Smoke Show, Princess Noor broke her maiden Aug. 22 at Del Mar, then won back-to-back Grade I racs in a span of 20 days, taking the Del Mar Debutante Sept. 6 and the Chandelier at Santa Anita Sept. 26.

The 19-10 favorite in the BC Juvenile Fillies, Princess Noor wound up fifth, beaten a bit more than four lengths by Vequist. She’s earned $363,000.

Owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, Kalypso, a daughter of Brody’s Cause and the Malibu Moon mare Malibu Cove has one win in three tries and has banked $64,100.

The $240,000 yearling purchase earned her victory in a stakes, leading throughout in the Anoakia Oct. 18. The Starlet will be her first venture beyond six furlongs.

A Distorted Humor filly out of the Sky Mesa mare She’ll Be Right owned by Baoma Corporation, Varda has been away since finishing a distant second in the Chandelier. She graduated first time out by 3 ¼ lengths Aug. 30 at Del Mar and has banked $73,000 in her two races.

Baffert’s three Starlet wins in succession – all in tandem with jockey Drayden Van Dyke, who will ride Varda Saturday - have been provided by Dream Tree (2017), Chasing Yesterday (2018) and Bast (2019).

Completing the field is Nasreddine, a $10,000 supplement by owners Andrew and Rania Warren.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, the daughter of Nyquist and the Sky Mesa mare Appreciating, Nasreddine has a win in two starts and earnings of $45,200. The $360,000 yearling purchase scored a 7-1 upset over maidens at six furlongs Nov. 7.

2020 Starlet (G1)

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