January 24, 2021

Princess Noor looks to regain winning edge in Starlet

Princess Noor
Princess Noor and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Chandelier Stakes (G2) © BENOIT PHOTO

Starlet Stakes — Race 5 (5:30 p.m. ET)

Beaten for the first time in her career last month as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Princess Noor will attempt to rebound in Saturday’s $300,000 Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos. The 1 1/16-mile Starlet will offer 2021 Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.

Three of the five fillies entered are trained by Bob Baffert, who’s won the race six times including the last three editions. The stable’s primary representative is Princess Noor, who faded to fifth in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland after visually impressive romps in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G1), the latter over stablemate Varda.

The third from Baffert is Anoakia S. winner Kalypso, but Princess Noor’s leading rival here is likely to be the Richard Mandella-trained Astute, who parlayed a narrow debut win on the turf into a more authoritative 7 1/2-length decision in the Nov. 14 Desi Arnaz S. at Del Mar over 7 furlongs.

“The owners and the manager — Alex Solis Jr. — told me before I ever saw her that she’s special and it’s kind of held true,” said Mandella after the Desi Arnaz.

The small but competitive field is rounded out by Nasreddine, a daughter of Nyquist trained by Mike McCarthy. Far from a toss-out, she finished second in her debut against colts before graduating in a 6-furlong maiden for fillies at Del Mar on Nov. 7.