How to bet the Rodeo Drive

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TwinSpires Staff

September 27th, 2018

Vasilika captures the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) at Del Mar (c) Benoit Photo

by Dick Powell

A field of eight goes to the gate in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. For fillies and mares, the Rodeo Drive is run at 10 furlongs and comes out of a left-hand elbow and crosses the dirt before beginning a full lap of the turf course.

The race is a “Win & You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and for many of these, that will be the only way they show up at Churchill Downs on the first weekend of November. Six of the eight starters are graded stakes winners but many are in poor form at the moment and would need a win here to get in there.

Plus, as is the norm for American turf races for older horses, four of the eight are foreign-breds.

The top two horses seem to be VASILIKA (#6) (8-5) and CAMBODIA (#8) (9-5). They ran one-two in the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) last out going nine furlongs at Del Mar and they have the two highest BRIS Speed ratings on turf.

Vasilika has won six straight races and is turning out to be the claim of the year for Jerry Hollendorfer, who took her for $40,000 to start the year.  She has won six of seven starts since the claim, captured a Grade 2 last out and is five-for-six on the Santa Anita turf course. Flavien Prat has the mount again.

Cambodia won the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (G2) two starts back in good time, then could not catch Vasilika in the stretch last out as the odds-on favorite in the Mabee. The daughter of the red-hot War Front just missed in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last year and seems to be coming into that race in about the same form as last year. From post 8, Drayden Van Dyke will probably drop far back and talk about the weather with Prat at the back of the pack.

SOPHIE P (#7) (8-1) is a British-bred mare who won the Gamely Stakes (G1) back in May when making her second start in America for Jim Cassidy. She has raced evenly in her next three starts and should appreciate the extra furlong.

Handicapping is part science and part art, and the art part is the subjective part. For some reason, the horse that jumps off the page at me is PAVED (#1) (8-1).

She is the only three-year-old in the field and gets in with 120 pounds. The daughter of Quality Road broke her maiden here in early January going nine furlongs in good time, then she beat males in the El Camino Real Derby on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. Paved won the Honeymoon Stakes (G2) two starts later here when she overcame a slow pace, then shipped to New York for the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) and was stuck in traffic before having to swing wide in the stretch going this distance. Last out, she raced evenly in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) going nine furlongs.

What intrigues me about the filly in the Rodeo Drive is that she will have to drop back early from post 1, wait for her turn and then try to accelerate with Joel Rosario, who is the perfect rider for that running style. Paved is one of those horses whom I just see getting the trip and pulling off the mild upset.


Win/Place #1 Paved

Trifecta #1 with All with All