Embassy Belle is winless in two starts in the United States, but the 5-year-old Irish-bred mare has far from disgraced herself.
She returns to the downhill turf course Saturday in the $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap (Gr. III) for older fillies and mares, and trainer Ben Cecil is looking for a solid performance.
Embassy Belle was second, beaten by a neck in an allowance race at about 6 ½ furlongs on the turf on Jan. 29, then was third, beaten three-parts of length, in the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. II) at one mile on Feb. 17.
"She ran very well (in her race at about 6 ½ furlongs on the turf)," Cecil said. "That was a top field and another jump, she'd have probably won. We stretched her out after that but missed some time between races so I think she was a bit short for the Buena Vista. We hope she'll be tough coming back at 6 ½ down the hill."
She'll carry Gary Stevens and 116 pounds while breaking from the sixth hole in the eight-horse field.
Top weight at 118 pounds will be Australian-bred Brocky's Dream, to be ridden by Corey Nakatani. Brocky's Dream was a flying second to Repository in the Winter Solstice on the downhill course March 12. She lost by a half-length after falling out to last following a slow break.
A 5-year-old Florida-bred by Ocala Slew, Repository has a 7-4-3 record from 25 starts with $234,468 in earnings for owner Rafter L. Stables. D. Wayne Lukas is the trainer.
Repository was able to hold off Brocky's Dream in the Winter Solstice even though she was under pressure on the front end from Paga, who also runs in the Las Cienegas. Repository will break from the outside under Patrick Valenzuela, while David Flores will be aboard the Argentine mare Paga.
Irish-bred Secret Garden, second in the Matiara at Hollywood Park in November, and I'm the Business, third in the Dec. 31 Monrovia (gr. IIIT) on the downhill course, also compete.$100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares, 4 & up, about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP. Horse, Wgt., Rider
1. Secret Garden (IRE), 116, Mark T. Johnston
2. Brocky's Dream (AUS), 118, Corey S. Nakatani
3. Paga (ARG), 116, David Flores
4. I'm the Business (NZ), 115, Victor Espinoza
5. Icantgoforthat (CA), 114, Tyler Baze
6. Embassy Belle (IRE), 116, Gary L. Stevens
7. Heat Haze (GB), 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
8. Repository (FL), 116, Patrick A. Valenzuela