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Vasilika with Flavien Prat aboard after winning the Buena Vista Stakes
The feature race on Saturday at Santa Anita was the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. Conditions were excellent with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's for the 8,440 fans in attendance. After 1 scratches, a field of 9 faced the starter with Vasilika sent off as the 4-5 favorite off her win in the Megahertz (G3) at Santa Anita after finishing 4th in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar. In to challenger her included 9-2 second choice Elysea's World, unraced since finishing 8th in the E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine, and 11-2 third choice Fahan Mura, winner of the Robert J. Frankel (G3) but was a disappointing 10th in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).
Vasilika chases down Streak of Luck in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 9 Vasilika Prat 3.60 2.80 2.20 10 Streak of Luck Baze 18.80 6.80 2 Ms Bad Behavior Smith 3.80 Winning Time: 1:33.35 $1 Exacta 9-10 45.60 $1 Trifecta 9-10-2 219.60 $1 Superfecta 9-10-2-1 1,304.40
Left: Vasilika in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said, "I don't know, if there's anything this horse can't do, if there is we haven't found it yet. I thought going down the backside Flavien had a good idea of how fast they were going, so he started moving a little earlier than he usually does, then she kicked in her last eighth like she always does and ran very well, we are very pleased."
Right: Vasilika heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "To be honest, she's taught me quite a bit. She always knows what she's doing. Usually you try to tell them what to do, but she does what she wants to do. She knows what to do."
Left: Vasilika in the paddock before the race. Winning owner Mark Schlaich said, "Just another great claim by Jerry, the horse just goes to the vamp she keeps producing and getting better, she just looks amazing today. This race you get a little nervous in the beginning but then she just starts rolling and she looked ready to go and ran hard. (We are) very impressed.
Right: Vasilika back at the barns after the race. Hollendorfer added, "Vasilika is certainly one of the barn favorites and really seems to come through for us every time. Even the couple of times she hasn't won, she's still tried so hard. We're blessed to have her. If I could answer why she is so consistent and so special I wouldn't have to work. She's certainly running for her late owner Dan Gatto each and every time it seems."
Second place finisher Streak of Luck in the paddock. Trainer Matt Chew said, "We wanted to find out if she belonged with these kinds of mares. We needed to get that answered today and she answered it. We'll take a look at what's next, we'll consider the Santa Ana." Jockey Tyler Baze added, "I put her right in behind the winner and I was hoping to get the jump on her, but (Vasilika) is a runner. So's mine."
Right: Third place finisher Ms Bad Behavior in the post parade. The 7-1 fourth choice stalked the pace 4 lengths off the pace under Mike Smith and held on to finish third beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The Richard Baltas trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 7 seconds, and 3 thirds in 15 starts, earning $320,480 for owners Sanjay Racing, Greg Hall, and Brooke Hubbard.
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