Vasilika looms large in Buena Vista

Some of the best older fillies and mares of the turf will take center stage on Saturday at Santa Anita in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes. The one-mile heat drew a field of 10 in pursuit of a $200,000 purse. Post time for the Buena Vista, Race 8 on a 10-race program, is 7 p.m. EST.

#9 VASILIKA (8-5, morning-line favorite) is the fastest and most consistent horse in this group, therefore she is the pick. She was last seen acing the Grade III Megahertz in her 2019 debut under regular pilot Flavien Prat. VASILIKA put together an incredible 2018 campaign, winning nine of her 11 starts, highlighted by the Grade I Rodeo Drive over this course. She has an impeccable 9-8-1-0 record at Santa Anita. VASILIKA is expected to get a fast pace to close into, so unless she runs into traffic, she should emerge victorious in the Buena Vista.

#8 ELYSEA’S WORLD (4-1) makes her first start out of the Richard Baltas barn here. She won three Grade III stakes under the care of Chad Brown a year ago. ELYSEA’S WORLD competed at Santa Anita once before, finishing second in the 2017 Robert J. Frankel while gaining ground late. ELYSEA’S WORLD is fast enough to win, but she hasn’t raced since October and typically gets more ground than this. She’s likeliest to complete the exacta in this group under Joel Rosario.

#6 AMANDINE (8-1) put forth a poor effort in her first start against older, tiring to fifth in the Megahertz. Perhaps she’ll be handled a little more conservatively early by Drayden Van Dyke. If you can forgive her most recent start, AMANDINE’s prior races at the meet put her in the hunt for a slice.

#2 MS BAD BEHAVIOR (5-1) is likely to be mixing it up early with #4 FAHAN MURA and possibly #7 ENGLISH DANCER. Still, the speedster has completed the exacta in four straight starts, all stakes. Mike Smith maintains the assignment.

The play: $6 exacta 9/8, $2 exacta 9/2,6 ($10)

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