Standout pair leads the way in Las Cienegas Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 7th, 2021

A pair of dynamic turf distaffers headlines Saturday’s $100,000 Las Cienegas (G3) at Santa Anita. Jaipur (G1) heroine #6 Oleksandra, and twice-beaten Group 1 star #7 Jolie Olimpica, appear to be standouts in the affair and I think that the race comes down to the duo.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Oleksandra has been a high-level performer over the past two seasons as a specialist when sprinting on the sod. The Team Valor color bearer proved her class when defeating the boys at Belmont Park two back, and with just 16 lifetime races, the 7-year-old still has room for improvement, as well. The Animal Kingdom mare drilled a bullet half-mile on Wednesday and will make one run in the lane under Joel Rosario.

The Richard Mandella-conditioned Jolie Olimpica is also lightly raced with a nifty 7-5-2-0 career line. By Drosselmeyer, the mare was eye-catching in winning this race last campaign, and she also gave a fine impression of herself when a big second behind Rushing Fall in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in her 2020 finale. The chestnut possesses substantial early foot and will always be forwardly placed beneath regular rider Mike Smith.

The value from a wagering standpoint will be in finding the horse or horses to complete the minor awards in the Las Cienegas. #5 Superstition has a lot of upside for Mandella and I like that the brilliant trainer entered her in the race. $850,000 daughter of Ghostzapper comes in with a pair of wins in succession, and while this is a big class jump, the 4-year-old might be up to the task under Prat. Kentucky-bred will be just off the pace in the early stages. I will key her in third and fourth in my superfecta plays.

Las Cienegas Wagers

  • $3 Superfecta: 6,7 with 6,7 with 5 with all ($24)
  • $2 Superfecta: 6,7 with 6,7 with all with 5 ($16)