Roberta's Mango, a consistent California-bred daughter of Bold Badgett, takes on open competition in Monday's $100,000 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) down the hillside turf course, but trainer Julio Canani is optimistic she is up to the challenge.
"She took up in her last race," said Canani, who saddled Silent Sighs to an impressive three-length victory in Saturday's California Breeders' Champion Stakes for Marty and Pam Wygod. "A hole closed up as she was getting in between two horses and she had to steady. She wasn't going to win but she was going to run third."
Roberta's Mango finished sixth in the race in question, the California Cup Distaff Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, the same distance and surface scheduled for the Monrovia. She was beaten only 4 ½ lengths in the Distaff, but gets a new rider for the Monrovia in Victor Espinoza. Corey Nakatani had ridden her in her last 10 races but opted for the Christophe Clement-trained Dedication in the Monrovia.
Roberta's Mango, 5-1 on the morning line, has a 6-2-3 record from 17 starts with earnings of $247,645.
Dedication, the 119-pound top weight in the field of 10 fillies and mares, is the 2-1 morning line favorite. She breaks from post seven.
Canani said he plans to run Roberta's Mango even if the race come off the grass, a possibility he did not give much credence to, considering recent frosty mornings with temperatures in the 30s. "It's not going to rain," Canani said. "It may snow, but it's not going to rain."
The French-bred Polygreen, idle since running ninth in the Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park last July 5, was suffering from an ulcer in her throat when she turned in that uncharacteristic performance. She had won two of her three races since arriving from France. "It was a nasty ulcer," trainer Richard Mandella said. "But it cleaned up good and she's training good. She should run well."
$100,000 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies and mares 3 & up, 6 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP., Horse, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Bold Roberta, Matt Garcia, 115, 15-1
2. Honest Answer, David Flores, 112, 20-1
3. Roberta's Mango, Victor Espinoza, 117, 5-1
4. Polygreen, Gary Stevens, 115, 5-2
5. Sweetcakesanshakes, Goncalino Almeida, 115, 15-1
6. Spring Star, Alex Solis, 119, 5-2
7. Dedication, Corey Nakatani, 119, 2-1
8. Reefs Sis, Pat Valenzuela, 114, 15-1
9. Icantgoforthat, Tyler Baze, 114, 6-1
10. Dreamers Glory, Kent Desormeaux, 114, 8-1
Polygreen and Spring Star race as a Wertheimer Farm entry.