Vasilika should bounce back in Megahertz

The Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes puts older grass fillies and mares in the spotlight this Monday at Santa Anita. The holiday feature, a two-turn turf mile, drew a field of seven, led by multiple graded stakes winner VASILIKA. Post time for the Megahertz, Race 8 of 10 on the day, is 6:34 p.m. EST. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#3 VASILIKA (6-5, morning-line favorite) is the fastest horse on paper as well as the classiest. It will take a lifetime-best effort by one of her rivals to spring the upset, though it’s not impossible. VASILIKA had an eight-race win streak snapped in the Grade I Matriarch by eastern invader Uni last time out. It was a rare time that Flavien Prat didn’t appear to give the perfect ride; his mount dropped back midway on the backstretch, then commenced a bid a bit too early and flattened out.

Returning to Santa Anita, where she is 8-7-1-0 lifetime, should help VASILIKA immensely. The pace should be honest with MS BAD BEHAVIOR in the field as well as longshot ZAFFINAH (primarily a turf sprinter) and LA SARDANE. Prat maintains the assignment.

#4 AMANDINE (3-1) seems like the only runner capable of upsetting the Megahertz. She won her first two stateside starts, including opening day’s Lady of Shamrock Stakes, with devastating ease. Then on just two days’ rest, AMANDINE tried the American Oaks at a longer distance. She was an admirable third after racing keenly in the early going. AMANDINE should benefit from cutting back to a mile as well as being reunited with Drayden Van Dyke.

#1 MS BAD BEHAVIOR (4-1) typically looks for the lead in her races and should find it once more breaking from the rail under Mike Smith, who is riding at an extraordinary 40 percent clip as of Saturday morning. She was second, albeit well-beaten, to AMANDINE in the Lady of Shamrock when last seen. MS BAD BEHAVIOR racked up eight in-the-money finishes, all stakes, in nine starts in 2018. She is very hard to leave out as a result.

The play: $8 exacta 3/4, $4 exacta 4/3, $2 exacta 3,4/1 ($16)

DFJ analysis: Monday should be another solid day at Santa Anita for Flavien Prat. He rides in seven of the day’s 10 races, and six of those mounts are 4-1 or below on the morning-line. VASILIKA, his call in the Megahertz, is the shortest-priced favorite on the program.

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