Z Command Highlights Strong Azeri Field

The Azeri (Grade 2)- $350.000 Purse
OP- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
March 14, 2020

With all of the cancellations of real sports going on, it can be hard to get in the spirit of writing up a virtual race, but we’ll give it a shot. The Azeri is a Grade 2 event for older females that has seen it’s purse increase over the years, and has seen some top quality horses like Darling Harbour and Anitquated Idea pull of wins here. We have several talented horses in this field, and that includes the reigning BC Distaff champion Z Command. Let’s take a look at them now!

#1- Spicy Poke (Estero Farms, ridden by J K Court)- The filly was picked up about a year ago in private sales for $100.000, and has managed two wins in five starts since then. She is frequently within a length or so at the end, and that includes races like the Grade 1 Cotillion at PRX. Second best to Totally Baroque in the La Canada, and will get a chance for revenge here. Figures to be poking around at the end here as well.

#2- Scarlet Horn (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A T Gryder)- She was a consistent finisher in the top two, if not three for her career, but that was not often at high levels of racing. A couple of ungraded stake wins along the way still showed some promised, but her streak ended of hitting the board when she made her graded debut last month. This will be the toughest test of her career.

#3- No Signal (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Lightly raced thus far as this is just her seventh career start, but the trainer is known for being patient with a horse like this. So far, No Signal has not done much to be all that excited about, other then some good times in the morning Won an optional claimer against fellow CA-breds to bring her here, and the trainer hopes that signals bigger things going forward.

#4- Viking Vania (Delta Farms, ridden by T Gaffalione)- The 2017 BC Distaff winner finished fourth in last year’s finish, so is continuing to tick along with good form. She’s raced twice since then, including the La Canada, where she placed fourth. Ran second in the Bayaoka in a showdown there with Z Command, who won that race.

#5- Cardi B (Gdp Inc., ridden by D Davis)- The winner of the Cotillion last year, Cardi B did not carry that momentum into the BC Distaff, where she finished near the back. She has not had a chance to take on stake competition since, with only an allowance run since then. In that race, she was third. Solid work at AQU gives optimism that she can run well here.

#6- Eye Test (Axeman, ridden by E Maldonado)- Claimed from Estero Farms in October for $40.000, Axeman showed confidence in this new arrival and ran her a month later in the Grade 3 Comely, and he was awarded with a win. One of several in here who ran in the La Canada in January, and placed third in the race.

#7- Totally Baroque (Aer Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Picked up in private sales from Fractious for $425.000, Totally Baroque didn’t make an immediate impression in her new silks, but did place third in the BC Distaff soon after to make up for it. Her last race is particularly notable here, as it was the La Canada Stakes against several she faces here. She proved that she could beat them there, and did while closing. We’re at a different venue here, but no reason to think that she can’t do that again.

#8- Z Command (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Velazquez)- The winner of the BC Distaff last year as actually done much more then that in her last four races, with three of them being victories. One of them is her most recent race, the Bayakoa, right here at OP, and is she can duplicate that run again here today, then it will be tough for even the top contenders here to be able to stop her.

#9- Harsh (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- This five year old is far more experienced then her stablemate, and this is career start number 25, and hopes that it results in her ninth win. Rarely runs a bad race, and has picked up some form of a check for Mb Stables in every race since the end of 2018. This is tough, though.

Prediction: 8-7-4-1

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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