Hard Not to Like will try for a third straight top-level stakes win in the Rodeo Drive Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="http://photos.bloodhorse.com/AtTheRaces-1/At-the-Races-2015/i-Nsrp5Wq">Order This Photo</a>

Hard Not to Like will try for a third straight top-level stakes win in the Rodeo Drive Stakes.
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Coglianese Photos/Adam Mooshian

Hard Not to Like Stretches Out in Rodeo Drive

Three-time grade I winner will try 1 1/4 miles for first time in Rodeo Drive.

A winner of grade I turf races on both coasts this season, Hard Not to Like will try for a third straight top-level stakes win when she starts Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Hard Not to Like will try for her fourth career grade I score Saturday when the 6-year-old Hard Spun  mare stretches out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time in her career.

The Speedway Stable runner will be making her first start since a nose victory over Tepin in the $500,000 Diana Stakes (gr. IT) July 25 at Saratoga Race Course, setting a course record for 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.22. That victory followed her neck win over Fanticola—also entered Saturday—in the Gamely Stakes (gr. I) May 25, her only previous Santa Anita start.

Triple Crown-winning rider Victor Espinoza guided Hard Not to Like to victory in the Gamely and is scheduled to ride the 124-pound highweight from post 8 in a field of 11. The Rodeo Drive is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race to the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Early running Fanticola will start from the outside in the expected field of 11. After just missing in the Gamely, the 5-year-old Silent Name  mare won the one-mile Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIT) June 27 at Santa Anita and enters off a fourth in the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 8 at Del Mar.

The top two finishers from the 1 1/8-mile Mabee also will race in the Rodeo Drive in winner Elektrum and runner-up Queen of The Sand

The field also includes recent Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) winner Sharla Rae, who will face older rivals for the first time. The 3-year-old Afleet Alex filly scored a three-quarter length win over Her Emmynency in the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Oaks Aug. 15.

Entries: Rodeo Drive S. (G1T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, September 26, 2015, Race 9

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/4m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:43 PM (local)
11Star Act (KY)Gary L. Stevens119Art Sherman-
22Lady Pimpernel (GB)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano119Carla Gaines-
33Photo Call (IRE)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke119H. Graham Motion-
44Famous Alice (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux119Tim Yakteen-
55Three Hearts (KY)Mario Gutierrez119Neil D. Drysdale-
66Elektrum (IRE)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze119John W. Sadler-
77Queen of The Sand (IRE)Mike E. Smith119Patrick Gallagher-
88Hard Not to Like (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza124Christophe Clement-
99Sharla Rae (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJames Graham121Doug F. O'Neill-
1010Stormy Lucy (KY)Corey S. Nakatani119Ed Moger, Jr.-
1111Fanticola (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Talamo119Philip D'Amato-