Coming off a dazzling seven-length victory in the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on June 4, Andujar is the 6-5 favorite among nine fillies and mares in the $300,000 Vanity Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.
Purchased for $750,000 by J. Paul Reddam and Mark Schlesinger prior to the Milady and transferred to trainer Doug O'Neill, Andujar made the transaction seem well worthwhile, cruising the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41 2/5 for her first graded stakes win. She'll get an extra sixteenth of a mile in the nine-furlong Vanity.
"I knew she was good, but I didn't realize she was that good," jockey Corey Nakatani said after the Milady.
Hollywood Story, who had earlier won three graded stakes at Hollywood Park, was no match in second. Hollywood Story, a grade I winner at age three, is 3-1 on the morning line.
Andujar, who carried four pounds less than high weight Hollywood Story in the Milady, will carry 121 as the top weight on Sunday.
The "X factor" in the field is Mexican-bred Casty, who won 14 of 17 starts in her native country while earning $322,333.
Casty, a 4-year-old filly, makes her California debut. Trainer Ruben Contreras, 70, brought the filly to Hollywood Park two weeks ago to the barn of Alfredo Marquez. Owner Javier Vazquez Perez, a bakery owner from Mexico City, arrived Friday.
Mexican-breds making an impact on U.S. stakes in recent years have been rare. Contreras and Marquez could not recall any since Mazatleca during the 1980s. She won the 1983 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar for trainer Hal King. She later captured turf stakes in the East, winning the 1985 Yankee Girl at Belmont and the 1986 Ocean Bound at Belmont and Red Bank and Eatontown at Monmouth, all for trainer Alan Goldberg.
Contreras is anxious to see where the daughter of Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) winner Valiant Nature out of the Unbridled mare Catty Corner stacks up against leading females Andujar, Hollywood Story and Splendid Blended. David Flores, who began riding in Mexico for Contreras two decades ago, has taken the call.
Jerry Bailey rides grade I winner Splendid Blended, a 3-year-old who faces older competition for the first time for trainer Neil Drysdale. $300,000 Vanity Invitational Handicap (gr. I, Race 3, 1:02 p.m.), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Splendid Blended (FL), Jerry D. Bailey, 113, 4/1
2. Healthy Addiction (KY), Jon K. Court, 112, 20/1
3. Santa Candida (ARG), Omar A. Berrio, 112, 30/1
4. Hollywood Story (KY), Victor Espinoza, 120, 31/
5. I Can Yodele (CA), Tyler Baze, 110, 30/1
6. Island Fashion (KY), 115, Patrick A. Valenzuela, 115, 8/1
7. Casty (MEX), David R. Flores, 115, 8/1
8. Andujar (KY), Corey S. Nakatani, 121, 6/5
9. Tucked Away (CA), Alex O. Solis, 112, 20/1