Buena Vista Seems Wide Open

Buena Vista Stakes (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
February 17, 2018

This Saturday at SA, the 14th running of the Buena Vista Stakes takes place. This is a Grade 2 race for older females, running a mile on the turf. It is a race that sees jockey K J Desormeaux look to win his third straight, as he also rode Natural Flower in 2016 for Maxmillion Farm, and Heartland last year for TwinTowersRacing. This year, he will be donning the colors of Crocker Ggs, and riding Commanding Faith. That is one of the eight fillies and mares going to post for this race. It looks like an entertaining race, with late bloomers looking to move their career forward a little more, running against BC runners, as well as those who consistently seem to run at this level. Let’s meet this field!

#1- Ocean Reef (Chili King Stables, ridden by A Delgadillo)- Almost exactly a year ago, Ocean Reef’s career may have a hit a low point, as she ran for a $7.000 claiming tag. No one picked her up, and she finished out of the money. Then, after that, she discovered the grass. She’s picked up a couple wins now on the turf, including the $100.000 Wild Applause at BEL. Hasn’t won a graded race yet, but has come close a couple times. What a difference a year makes, and would make for an interesting if on almost the exact anniversary of that claimer, she got that first graded win.

#2- Commanding Faith (Crocker Ggs, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- As mentioned in the opening, the jockey is hot in this race, having won the last two editions. He seems to be on a good one here to as he looks to make that three straight. Commanding Faith does not always win, but seems to always be close, as evidenced by four runners up last year, including the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes at WO. That helped get her into the BC Fillies and Mares Turf, but it did not go well. Comes off a win in the Grade 3 Megahertz last month, but I have to be honest and say that field was not graded caliber (other then Commanding Faith). It should still serve as a good tune up for this race, and she should be a threat.

#3- Creme de la Geek (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E R Da Silva)- Spent much of the year last year running in N1X allowances, and while she never ran poorly, it took a while to get that next win. Once she did, coming in September, the trainer moved her in to the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes, and she would that smaller $100.000 graded event as well. Following that, she ran second in a four-horse open allowance that had a far stronger field that then Grade 3 Megahertz that I mentioned above with Commanding Faith. She’s one to watch this year, and will probably be on the lead or near it early on here.

#4- Cats Landing (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- This filly has been brought along patiently by the trainer, and that diligence is paying off. In seven races, she has never failed to be a part of the exacta, and has been in the winners circle five times. The competition level hasn’t always been the strongest, especially in some of her first races, but she has been rising the occasion lately as the trainer tries to bring her forward. A win on the main track at the $100.000 Bay Ridge for NY-breds at AQU shows she has plenty of heart, and she looks to show that to more people here in this one.

#5- Laff It Up (Our Athletes, ridden by G Franco)- Making the 21st start of her career, Laff It Up looks tp pick up her ninth victory. Last year was a bit interesting for her, as she seemed very hot and cold over the course of the season. Basically, you can sum it up this way: From February to August, she won three out of four. Or, from July to October, she ran seventh or worse in three of four starts. So, which way do we want to look at it? Even prior to that, you can see the same trend. The good news is, her last two starts have been sharp, winning an open allowance, then running second at the Grade 3 Frankel at the end of the year right here at SA. She’s streaky, and pointing the right way right now, but how long will that last?

#6- Guest Of Honor (Mb Stables, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- The trainer looks to add his name to the list of past winners in this race. Mb Stables has brought Guest Of Honor along patiently, and saw a four race winning streak early in 2017 that was highlighted by winning the GP Oaks, sending her into the KYO. From there, she fizzled a bit, with subpar runs in that as well as the Grade 2 Mother Goose a month later. She has not been seen in a stake since the Mother Goose, but a win in an open allowance here last month has restored some confidence and earned her another shot.

#7- Trump Princess (Winning Link Stables, ridden by B Blanc)- Last week or so, I wrote about Winning Link Stables winning with Ivanka. Now, he looks to do the same with Trump Princess. I’m noticing a theme here. I could say that California would be hostile territory, but that did not matter for Ivanka! Trump Princess had a good run in Florida last month, coming from behind and getting up for the win just in time. Fitting! In all seriousness, this is a lightly raced filly who is hitting her stride right now, and could be one that we talk about quite a bit this year. I like her track record of consistency.

#8- Peppermint Miss (Allinthegate, ridden by T Conner)- This filly is a lot like Ocean Reef, though she did not drop as low as that one did. Peppermint Miss raced on the main track for a while, and got good results, but they were not against the strongest of fields. She was then moved to the grass, and into a smaller ungraded stake, and annihilated the field. The trainer has stayed small with her, and since then she has picked up two more stake wins, both for $30.000 purses. The time has come, to see how she fares against better company.

Prediction: Tough race to predict, because I could see several scenarios playing out. But I’ll go with… 3-2-5-7

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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