Competitive Field for Las Virgenes Stakes

Las Virgenes Stakes (Grade 2) (KYO)- $200.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile on the Dirt
February 4, 2018

While there are many talented three year old fillies in the game, the time is now for the best of the division to begin to separate themselves to win a bid in the KYO in May. The 14th running of the La Virgenes is a good opportunity to accomplish this task, as the race runs out at SA on Sunday to warm you up for the Super Bowl. The race last year had a disappointing field size, but was won by a trainer who had the same logo on their silks as did the team that won the Super Bowl. Various, last year’s winner, did not need to come out of nowhere in the second half of the race though, and was pretty much on the lead throughout. Will history repeat itself with that same trainer winning again, or will another “fly, fly away” with the win? There’s a field of nine, let’s meet the field!

#1- Im Working On It (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- On the rail, this filly has shown plenty promise in winning the first two races of her career, but she has not been quite able to separate herself into being considered elite. Two graded opportunities had different results, with a decent third place run in the DED Princess, but could not do better then sixth in the Santa Ynez Stakes, a Grade 2, right here. I’m tempted to say that is a throw out, and maybe it is, due to an apparent tactic she didn’t agree with, and even if it is the right tactic for her, maybe she would have fared better with one more furlong, like she gets today.

#2- Pandemonium (Jader Stable, ridden by M E Smith)- Purchased from Aer Stables in the middle of October in $30.000 after struggling in the $200.000 Muskoka Stakes for Canadian breds. Since that time, she has raced mainly in TUP allowances, with some success. She followed that up by running in a $75.000 claimer right here, in which she ran second. This is a talented horse, but the speed figures and overall times tell me that she has to have improved a bit in order to have a shot here. She’s still young, so that is possible. Now’s the time to try to see how she measures up.

#3- Iron Spirit (End Run Farm, ridden by C S Nakatani)- This Hail The Steel filly has had a good amount of success running against NM-breds. She won a $175.000 statebred stake very early in her career, showing the value of breeding in NM. Her one attempt to leave the statebred ranks other then her debut race saw a muddy track at BEL for the Grade 1 Frizette, and she was never able to show the closing kick that had made her successful. Work times at a mile are not wowing me, but as long as she has iron spirit of desire, she can make up for that on race day. I do like how she finds herself near the front often.

#4- Charleys Bade (Night Rider Stables, ridden R Maragh)- Picked up in a $19.000 claimer in July, Night Rider Stables has got his moneys back and a lot more with this Plucky Charley filly. She’s won three of eight, highlighted by winning the $100.000 Key Cents for NY-breds in November. Made her 2018 debut in the Santa Ynez Stakes, and was able to collect a check with her fourth place performance. Speed figures are increasing, and I like her at this distance, which she attempts for the first time. Had a sharp looking four furlong breeze to tune up for this race, and I think she has a great shot at it, and put her on top.

#5- Fortune Tune (Aml Racing, ridden by D Van Dyke)- A winner of two out of five starts this year, and she looks a lot like Iron Spirit to me. That’s not only because they finished in a dead heat for 7th in the Grade 1 Frizette, but like Iron Spirit, she may have simply not liked the mud that day. Otherwise, she’s been very competitive, but she’ll need to be better then she was in the SA allowance in her last start. The good news is that is has been about six weeks since that race, so she is rested, ready, and has time to grow and get better.

#6- Dashing Throughout (Toppedout, ridden T C Baze)- Not often that you see a filly at this stage of her career making her 15th start, but Toppedout has been aggressive with racing her, and hopefully her career has not yet topped out. She put together a four-race winning streak during the fall last year, and has good showings in a pair of $50.000 ungraded stakes, including a win. On the flip side, two of those wins in that streak were in MNR claimers. I like that the trainer takes the shot, but she does not appear to be a top threat here.

#7- Ivanka (Winning Link Stables, ridden by V Espinoza)- Unless things change between now and post time, this race will represent the first of the year for the trainer, so they good use of their starts. By the way, noticed that V Espinoza is 1-for-36 to start the year here. Yikes! Ivanka, who has great bloodlines, has won three out of five. Her last start was a win, coming on BC weekend at DMR in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies for CA breds. She’s had time to rest, but maybe it would have been good for her to have a tune up here. Look for her to be one of the top threats here.

#8- Molly Magne (Gdp Inc, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- The Charlemagne filly had a good October, with two wins that included a triumph in the $200.000 Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes against three others, but in all other months, she is showing signs of inconsistency. An attempt at the Grade 3 DED Princess proved to be rather dismal, similar to her run in the Seeking The Ante before she got hot in October. Then, she bounced back with a third place showing in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez, which is the best result of the three horses in this race that came out of that one. There’s potential here, and she is young, so hopefully she will learn to become more consistent. In the meantime, I always shy away from picking the inconsistent ones.

#9- Jokes On You (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- The trainer has patiently brought this one along, and has been rewarded with two wins in three career starts. After an impressive breaking of her maiden, Jokes On You headed to the DED Princess, and raced near the lead most of the way before proving to be the best in the stretch. While she won that race, she defeated two of today’s rivals. She has continued to be a steady worker, and this will allow Mb Stables to field two of the best horses in this race.

Prediction: 4-9-7-1

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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