The regally-named Royally Chosen will have another chance at dethroning the current queen of the 4-year-old fillies, Affluent, in Sunday's El Encino Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles. In the Dec. 29 La Brea Stakes, Royally Chosen set the table for the late-running Affluent by dueling through fast fractions with Above Perfection and Love At Noon. By In Excess, out of Her Royalty, the California-bred filly has won three of seven starts for earnings of $163,806, and is perfect in a pair of starts around two turns. "Hopefully, without that filly of Darrell Vienna's (Above Perfection) in there pushing mine so hard, she'll have some kick left," said trainer Bruce Headley. "She's ready to run a big one again. Still, (Affluent) is a great filly, and a great rider in old (Eddie) Delahoussaye. It'll be a tough task even if everything goes her way." Royally Chosen completed El Encino preparations by drilling seven panels in 1:26.40 Tuesday. The El Encino is the second leg of the La Cañada series for 4-year-old fillies, which concludes with the Grade II La Cañada Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 9.
Probables for the El Encino Stakes, with jockeys: Affluent, Eddie Delahoussaye; Castling, Kent Desormeaux; Graceful Cat, no rider; Love At Noon, Corey Nakatani; Royally Chosen, Alex Solis, and Sea Reel, no rider. Possible: Autumn Rhythm, no rider.