A literal gem of consistency, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's Vasilika rallied from well off the pace to take Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita by 1 ½ lengths, her 10th win in 12 starts since being claimed here for $40,000 on Feb. 11, 2018 and her 15th overall in what has become a remarkable career. Ridden for the 11th consecutive time by Flavien Prat, Vasilika, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Skipshot, got a flat mile on turf in 1:33.35.
“By the three eighths pole, I could see we were making ground and probably would be able to catch the leader, Fahan Mura,” said Prat, who was about nine lengths off the lead heading into the far turn. “I did have to ask her in the stretch, but as soon as I switched my stick to my left hand, she made a very nice move.”
Most recently a 1 ½ length winner of the Grade III Megahertz Stakes at one mile on turf Jan. 21, Vasilika was off at 4-5 in a field of nine older fillies and mares and paid $3.60, $2.80 and $2.20.
Owned by All Schlaich Stables, LLC, Hollendorfer, LLC, Gatto Racing, LLC and George Todaro, Vasilika, who is out of the Marquetry mare La Belle Marquet, improved her overall mark to 30-15-4-3 and with the winner's share of $120,000, she now has earnings of $938,595.
“I don't know if there's anything this horse can't do, if there is, we haven't found out yet,” said Hollendorfer. “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…If I could answer why she is so consistent and so special, I wouldn't have to work.”
A 4-year-old California-bred filly by Old Fashioned, Streak of Luck stepped up out of a classified allowance win going a mile on turf here on Jan. 25 to run a huge second at 50-1 under Tyler Baze. Owned and bred by the Roncelli Family Trust and trained by Matt Chew, Streak of Luck tracked the favorite around the far turn and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Ms Bad Behavior while paying $18.80 and $6.80.
“We wanted to find out if she belonged with these kinds of mares,” said Chew. “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 (Grade III, 1 ¼ miles on turf March 31).”
Ridden by Mike Smith, Ms Bad Behavior was the fourth choice in the wagering at 7-1 and paid $3.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.53, 45.48, 1:09.37 and 1:21.75.
College Football Hall of Famer and All Pro NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer presented the Buena Vista trophy.
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