Black Mamba Gets Chance to Strike
Photo: Benoit
Black Mamba is ready to strike in the Buena Vista Handicap.
After running strongly against the likes of Citronnade, Nashoba's Key, and Precious Kitten in her most recent starts, the New Zealand-bred mare Black Mamba should be ready to strike in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf course Feb. 18.

The Buena Vista headlines the Presidents' Day program at Santa Anita. A field of nine is entered in the one-mile event for older fillies and mares.

John Sadler trains Black Mamba, the late-running 5-year-old daughter of Black Minnaloushe who has not been out of the money in five U.S. starts since last summer for owner Doubledown Stables. Following an allowance win in her American debut on the Del Mar grass in August, the bay mare has posted graded stakes placings in four consecutive races — the Palomar (gr. IIT), Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT), Las Palmas (gr. IIT), and Dahlia (gr. IIT) handicaps.

In her most recent try, the 1 1/16-mile Dahlia on the Hollywood Park lawn Dec. 16, Black Mamba got up late to be second, two lengths behind Citronnade, in a slowly paced race that favored the front-running style of the winner. At Oak Tree Sept. 29, the fast-closing Black Mamba was beaten by less than a length by Nashoba's Key and Citronnade in the 1 1/4-mile Yellow Ribbon.

Though usually close, Black Mamba has just two wins in 15 lifetime starts and earnings of $189,877.

Regular rider Tyler Baze has the call on Black Mamba, one of three mares in the Buena Vista field assigned top weight of 116 pounds.

The others, Alexandra Rose and Trick's Pic, are both coming off grade III victories.

Team Valor International's South African-bred 6-year-old mare Alexandra Rose sprang a mild surprise for trainer Neil Drysdale when she came from off the pace to win the Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Santa Anita's hillside turf course Jan. 1.

A group II winner in her native country, the daughter of Caesour won the Monrovia following a layoff of 4 1/2 months. Tracking a fast pace from near the back of the pack, she rallied four wide into the lane to defeat Society Hostess by three-quarters of a length. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Alexandra Rose in the Monrovia, gets the mount once again. The dark bay has won five of 13 races and earned $169,923.

Joseph LaCombe Stables homebred Trick's Pic was also a bit of an upset when she captured the one-mile Tuzla Handicap (gr. IIIT) by two lengths at Santa Anita Jan. 19. Doug O'Neill trains the 5-year-old Favorite Trick mare. She ended a seven-race losing streak in the Tuzla when she was teamed with Victor Espinoza for the first time.

Trick's Pic owns a 5-2-3 record in 20 starts and has earned $260,288.

Kris' Sis makes her first appearance since running third, less than two lengths behind Precious Kitten and Black Mamba, in Del Mar's Palomar Sept. 1. She won the Osunitas Handicap prior to that.

The deep closer I Can See ran second in the Tuzla and now has back-to-back runner-up stakes finishes for trainer Steve Knapp.

Juddmonte Farms' English homebred Costume has finished fourth in each of her four U.S. starts since transferring to Bobby Frankel from Great Britain. All of her American races have come against grade I or II company, including her most recent try in the nine-furlong San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita sod Jan. 14.

Leading rider Garrett Gomez tries his luck on the 4-year-old Danehill filly who has just a maiden win in 10 starts.

French-bred Live Life, with David Flores aboard, looks like the pacesetter here from the outside gate. Loyal Bounty and the Irish-bred Shermeen complete the field.

$150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Kris' Sis (KY), 114, Michael C. Baze
2. I Can See (KY), 114, Jon K. Court
3. Loyal Bounty (CA), 112, Martin Garcia
4. Costume (GB), 113, Garrett K. Gomez
5. Alexandra Rose (SAF), 116, Rafael Bejarano
6. Trick's Pic (KY), 116, Victor Espinoza
7. Black Mamba (NZ), 116, Tyler Baze
8. Shermeen (IRE), 114, Joseph Talamo
9. Live Life (FR), 114, David R. Flores

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