While Totally Baroque ( Aer Stables ) and Viking Vania ( Delta Farms ) would finish third and fourth, just eight one-hundredth of a second apart in last seasons BC Distaff, the duo will meet once again in this seasons opener for both runners in the Gr. II La Canada Stakes.
- La Canada Stakes ( Gr. II ) – Purse $200.000
- Santa Anita Park – For Fillies & Mares Four Years Old and Up
- One Mile and a Sixteenth in Distance- Main Track
- January 11th, 2020
While both the BC Distaff competitors were let go at odds of 25 and 58 to one odds for that event, it will be highly unlikely that you will see those type of prices show up here at SA. Viking Vania will definitely approve of this shorter mile and sixteenth distance, a length that has led the six year old grey to six of her ten career victories, one being the iconic Zenyatta Stakes, an event she has won in the past two seasons here at Santa Anita. This track is like coming home for her. As for Totally Baroque, the four year old bay is heading into her third start for this trainer, and she definitely showed she has some prominent late kick to make a difference down the lane. While she may have only won two starts in eleven career starts, going from eleventh to third in the Distaff made others stand up and pay attention. She is a Graded winner in her past, so remaining at this oval could make her presence felt once again here.
Others entered here who should be making their presences felt down the lane will be likes of Chicken On A Chain ( Mb Stables ) and Spicy Poke ( Estero Farms ). Chicken On A Chain earn herself a 95 SRF rating in her very first Graded win taking home the Bayakoa Hdcp. at LA going today’s distance. Has been a serious contender in nine of her ten career starts placing in the top three, with five being victories. Maturity will definitely play a factor in this four year old moving forward in the Graded ranks.Last years Top Stakes trainer will also help her cause. As with Spicy Poke, this grey since making the move this barn has brought home two Graded titles in four starts, her most recent coming in the Gr. III Chilukki Stakes going a mile at Churchill earning a 97 SRF rating. While her two attempts at the higher Grade I level events had her finishing just on the fringes, this level of competition should suit her running style of racing and have her in the hunt.
Five other runners are hoping that coming to this event with their entries with be productive and prosperous. From inside out will be runners Happy Thoughts ( Rampage Stables) ( P1 ), Ancient Royalty ( Paradise Stables ) ( P4), Eye Test ( Axeman ) ( P6), Cover Girl ( Aml Racing ) (P7) and Stellar Wind ( Simmer Down Stables ) ( P9). The senior of this group is Ancient Royalty at the golden age of eight. She went six of nine in the money last season, with her best efforts coming in three stakes victories at today’s distance, but on the grass. She did attempt the dirt in her most recent Gr. III Bayakoa Hdcp, going runner-up to Chicken On A Chain, so she could have a thing or two to say here. One of last season sophomores who laid claim to a top honor stakes event was Eye Test when she captured the Gr. II Summertime Oaks race here at SA back in late May. While the DEL Oaks was a disappointment in the follow up, she switched to the claiming ranks and found herself a new home here with Axeman. Her new interest took her to a victory in the Gr. III Comely to close out last season, and works have been kept in hiding since, so her return could be an interesting one. Cover Girl compete over this oval last season in the upper Gr. I SA Oaks where she would close to within two lengths of the winner. Her next two Graded company affairs had her finishing on the fringes in both, so like Eye Test she made the switch to the OpClm ranks to finish up the season. She would walk away with a victory to close out her sophomore year against OpClm62.5 company on a sloppy Del Mar oval going today’s distance. Did have a bullet work her at SA to close out last season and is hoping that effort will translate into dollars on Saturday.
Of the final two runners, Stellar Wind from the outside post will need to show she can be competitive enough to stick around.She has finished second in four of her seven attempts against stakes company since joining this trainer, and he would like nothing better then to see her achieve her break through moment on the track. He has invested heavily in her development, and only time will tell when she is ready. As for rail runner Happy Thoughts, she did capture a victory at Charles Town in the restricted WV Cavada Breeders in mid October then return to narrowly win an OpClm40 event as well at DMR at a mile. She won four of seven in her sophomore season and her career, but this will be her first ever Graded event against some tougher competition. A threepeat would be a major accomplishment for her.