West coast win machine Vasilika top choice in Gamely

Santa Anita’s Grade I, $500,000 Gamely Stakes is among the more intriguing races taking place on Memorial Day. Eight fillies and mares will do battle over 1 1/8-miles on the turf course. Post time for the Gamely, Race 7 on a 10-race program, is 7:03 p.m. ET.

#4 VASILIKA (8-5, morning-line favorite) goes for an unbelievable 10th straight victory at Santa Anita in Monday’s Gamely. She’s failed to win just twice in 14 starts since being claimed by Jerry Hollendorfer in February of 2018. VASILIKA is a perfect 3-for-3 in 2019, taking the Megahertz, Buena Vista and Royal Heroine Stakes, all at Santa Anita. Flavien Prat has been a fixture in the saddle atop VASILIKA, and he’ll ride once more in the Gamely. VASILIKA is versatile enough to make her own racing luck and is as good as any rival in the speed figure department. Simply put, she’s a well-deserved favorite in the Gamely and will be tough to beat.

#6 STREAK OF LUCK (15-1) has improved noticeably in her four-year-old season for trainer Matthew Chew. She topped five others in a one-mile turf allowance in January before completing the exacta at 53-1 in February’s Buena Vista behind VASILIKA. Her latest effort came in the Santa Ana on March 30, and it appears she found 1 1/4-miles too far. Cutting back a furlong in the Gamely should aid STREAK OF LUCK’s cause. Mike Smith climbs aboard this live longshot.

#2 OLLIE’S CANDY (4-1) picked a brutal spot for her first start since August of 2018. However, her two turf races from last year hinted at serious ability. She was a fast-closing second off a terrible post draw in the San Clemente two-back before being caught late in the Del Mar Oaks when last seen. OLLIE’S CANDY has capable new connections in trainer John Sadler and jockey Joel Rosario in the Gamely.

#1 RYMSKA (5-2) makes a third career trip to the west coast after striking out in both prior instances. In fact, her fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita and sixth in last year’s Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar are her lone finishes outside the exacta in her last 10 starts. RYMSKA has never been flashy speed figure-wise but her 3-1-2-0 record in graded stakes this year is hard to fault. She was second to the arguable division leader in Rushing Fall in the Jenny Wiley when last seen. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides for Chad Brown.

The play: $4 exacta 4/6, $3 exacta 4/1,2 ($10)

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