After a sub-par effort on a sloppy track, Elusive Diva returns to the downhill turf course that she's had success on as the likely favorite in the $100,000-added Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT) for older fillies at mares at Santa Anita Park Sunday.
The 117-pound high weight in a field of nine entered for the about 6 1/2-furlong grass event, Elusive Diva won her debut over the course in the Wishing Well Jan. 30 for trainer Mark Glatt. She followed that effort with a well-beaten third-place finish in the one-mile Buena Vista Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 21. The Buena Vista field was reduced to five when the race was moved to the main track because of sloppy conditions.
Patrick Valenzuela replaces Kent Desormeaux on the 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality
. Valenzuela won the Railbird (gr. III) last summer at Hollywood Park aboard Elusive Diva, a winner of four of 11 starts with earnings of $288,070.
Quero Quero, the 2003 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup (gr. II) winner in June 2003 at Hollywood Park, was fourth behind Miss Terrible in the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 27. The 5-year-old daughter of Royal Academy
carries 116 pounds, same as the returning Winendynme.
Also in the field are stakes-winning Very Vegas and Allswellthatnswell, the likely pacesetters, and upset hope Chasethegold.$Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares 4 & up, about 6 1/2 furlongs (turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Megec Blis (IRE), 113, Mark Guidry
2. Chasethegold (KY), 113, Corey S. Nakatani
3. Winendynme (KY), 116, Alex O. Solis
4. Irgunette (AUS), 112, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
5. Allswellthatnswell (CA), 113, Rene R. Douglas
6. Very Vegas (KY), 115, Casey Fusilier
7. Quero Quero (KY), 116, Victor Espinoza
8. Elusive Diva (KY), 117, Patrick A. Valenzuela
9. Gypsy Dot (FL), 113, Tyler Baze