Santa Anita: How to bet the Buena Vista Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

February 19th, 2021

Although 10 fillies and mares have been entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Buena Vista S. (G2) at Santa Anita, two runners rank a cut above the others in this one-mile turf test.

Let’s review the pros and cons offered by the two betting favorites, then formulate a wagering strategy on a $30 budget.

#2 Mucho Unusual (7-2)


The daughter of Mucho Macho Man has been in hot form, with three wins in her last four starts (all graded stakes) over distances ranging from one mile to 1 1/4 miles.

Mucho Unusual has tactical speed and typically sets or tracks the pace, which leads to a clean trip more often than not.

Trainer Tim Yakteen has been hot at Santa Anita this meet, with four wins from 13 starts, and Mucho Unusual boasts a 5-1-3 record from nine starts over the Santa Anita lawn.


One mile might be a hair shorter than Mucho Unusual’s best distance.

She benefited from tracking a modest pace when she prevailed in the Megahertz (G3) over this course and distance last month, and since there is more speed entered in the Buena Vista, Mucho Unusual may find herself farther off the pace than usual.

A break from post 2, with speed to her outside, may force Mucho Unusual into a box early on.

#8 Charmaine’s Mia (3-1)


She handled the Santa Anita turf course just fine in her local debut, when she essentially went gate to wire in the six-furlong Las Cienegas (G3), after she carved out fast splits of :21.58 and :43.80.

She beat a deep field, including next-out Wishing Well S. winner Superstition, and earned a 99 Brisnet Speed rating, which is substantially higher than Mucho Unusual’s career-best 95.

Charmaine’s Mia’s frontrunning speed is an asset, and hot jockey Flavien Prat will take the mount for trainer Phil D’Amato. Together, they’ve won five races from 18 starts (28%) over the last two months.


Charmaine’s Mia has been campaigned as a sprinter and finished off the board in her lone start running one mile. The stretch out in distance could be a tough task, if frontrunning Lady of Shamrock S. winner #4 Nasty (6-1) engages Charmaine’s Mia in a battle for early supremacy.


I’m not sure Charmaine’s Mia wants to run one mile, but her decisive score in the Las Cienegas was strong. I’m willing to bet Charmaine’s Mia’s frontrunning speed will win the day.

For the exotics, we’ll use Mucho Unusual and Del Mar Oaks (G1) winner #5 Red Lark (8-1), who will cut back in distance, off a fourth-place effort in the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks (G1). Two starts back, Red Lark was beaten just 1 3/4 lengths by a trio of elite East Coast fillies in the 1 1/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland, so you can argue the Buena Vista is an easier spot.

$15 to win on #8 Charmaine’s Mia
$5 exacta: 8 with 2,5 ($10)
$2.50 trifecta: 8 with 2,5 with 2,5 ($5)
Total: $30

Good luck!