August 20, 2018

Dream Tree faces five in Las Virgenes

Dream Tree and jockey Drayden Van Dyke win the Starlet Stakes (G1) on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at Los Alamitos Race Course © Benoit Photo

A half-dozen fillies have been entered to go a mile on Sunday in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

The contest is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and is worth a total of 17 points to be spread amongst the top four finishers.

Dream Tree is the filly to beat while making her sophomore bow for trainer Bob Baffert. The Uncle Mo filly is a perfect three-for-three thus far in her career, taking her initial two starts, including the Desi Arnaz Stakes, by a nose each. She stretched out to 1 1/16 miles last out for a 3 1/4-length victory in the Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos, and keeps regular jockey Drayden Van Dyke aboard.

Baffert also saddles Thirteen Squared in the Las Virgenes. The dark bay daughter of Liaison wired her maiden by 6 3/4 lengths while making her fourth start last out on December 7 at Los Alamitos. Tyler Baze was in the saddle for that score and retains the mount on Sunday.

Exuberance was fourth behind Dream Tree in the Starlet last out, one race after a 6 1/2-length maiden score going a mile at Santa Anita. The Ian Kruljac-trained daughter of Archarcharch finished third in her initial two outings, a maiden special weight at Del Mar last August and the Barretts Debutante at Los Alamitos in mid-September. Corey Nakatani has the call.

Steph Being Steph shocked when runner-up in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) last out at 25-1 and will try to carry that form past seven furlongs for trainer Brian Koriner. The Majestic Warrior filly captured the Golden Gate Debutante on November 24 going six furlongs and was runner-up in Santa Anita’s Anoakia Stakes at that same distance in October. Stewart Elliot has piloted the bay miss for all but one of her starts and holds the reins in the Las Virgenes.

She’s No Drama returns to a conventional dirt track after going 1-2-0 over Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta in her past three starts. The Jeff Bonde charge sandwiched a 6 1/2-length allowance/optional claiming victory between seconds in a similar contest and the Golden Gate Debutante. Kyle Frey will be aboard the Big Drama filly for the first time here.

Holy Diver has been well-beaten in stakes by double- and even triple-digit lengths and looks out of her class here. Cesar Franco rides.

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