May 26, 2024

Didia rallies in Rodeo Drive; Slider fights back in Speakeasy

Didia drives to victory in the Rodeo Drive (Photo by Benoit Photo)

A four-month layoff didn’t stop 11-10 favorite Didia from posting a comfortable victory in Saturday’s Rodeo Drive (G2) racing 1 1/4 miles over the Santa Anita turf course.

A multiple Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, Didia entered the Rodeo Drive unraced since finishing a pace-compromised second in the June 9 New York (G1) at Belmont Park. The pace was a bit quicker in the Rodeo Drive, with pacesetter Turnerloose carving out splits of :24.50, :48.75, and 1:13.31, and Didia responded with a strong charge from fifth place to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:59.79.

“I felt we had a really good chance today; my filly was really good,” said winning jockey Vincent Cheminaud. “After a long break you never know, but today the level was really great for her, the pace was good, she’s a nice filly, and she deserved to win.”

Second choice Anisette closed for second place, a neck ahead of Juncture. Closing Remarks, Neige Blanche, Symphony Perfect, Stoic Luna, and Turnerloose completed the order of finish.

With a 5-for-6 record since arriving in the U.S., Didia is emerging as one of the best female grass runners in the country. Winning the Rodeo Drive secured the five-year-old mare a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), and trainer Ignacio Correas IV indicated Didia would remain at Santa Anita to train for the Breeders’ Cup.

Earlier in the afternoon, 4-5 favorite Slider delivered an eventful victory in the Speakeasy S., a five-furlong grass dash for two-year-olds that serves as a stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1).

Switching to turf off a flashy maiden victory over the Del Mar dirt, Slider set the pace against a large field in the Speakeasy, making the lead through an intense opening quarter-mile in :21.20. However, the son of Jimmy Creed drifted out severely approaching the top of the stretch and gave up his advantage to the ground-saving Dark Vintage, who led through half a mile in :44.34.

But Slider quickly regrouped under jockey Hector Berrios and reclaimed the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile to edge clear and beat Dark Vintage by 1 1/4 lengths in :55.96. April Vintage finished another 2 1/4 lengths back in third place, followed by Des Doigts, Bear River, Always On Cay, Charge for Gold, Tranche, Mysticism, and Lord Prancealot.

Plans call for Slider to advance to the Breeders’ Cup.

“We switched him to the grass today because we’re hoping to run in the Juvenile Turf Sprint,” said John Sadler, who trains Slider on behalf of Hall Racing, Pearly Racing, and West Point Thoroughbreds. “I think what happened there turning for home was a combination of being a little green and being on the turf. I thought he was very impressive. To stay collected the way he did and come back and get that horse, that was impressive.”