Vale Dori and jockey Mike Smith after their win in the 2016 Bayakoa Handicap

Vale Dori and jockey Mike Smith after their win in the 2016 Bayakoa Handicap

Benoit Photo

Vale Dori Encounters Familiar Group in La Canada

Asiatic Boy mare won the Bayakoa Handicap (G2) in her last start.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum's Vale Dori will attempt to secure her second straight grade 2 victory Jan. 14 in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita Park and she'll encounter familiar challengers.

Three of the other four others entered in the 1 1/16-mile La Canada ran behind Vale Dori in her last win, the Dec. 3 Bayakoa Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.

In the Bayakoa, Vale Dori raced just off pacesetter Gloryzapper early, pressed the pace in the backstretch under first-time jockey Mike Smith, took command in the final turn, and pulled away under a hand ride to win by three lengths. The Argentine-bred mare has done little wrong since moving to trainer Bob Baffert in 2016. She has three wins, a neck second to Gloryzapper in her U.S. debut, and a third-place finish behind champions Stellar Wind and Beholder in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1).

BALAN: Vale Dori Impressive in Bayakoa Victory

Wild At Heart loomed as a potential threat turning for home in the Bayakoa, but never got within a length of the winning daughter of Asiatic Boy. Ramona Bass' Wild At Heart, a 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare trained by Richard Mandella, has placed in all three of her graded dirt tries and will try to break through in the La Canada. Along with her second-place Bayakoa run, she also was just a half-length second in the L.A. Woman Stakes (G3) and came in third behind eventual champion Stellar Wind in the 2015 Santa Anita Oaks (G1).

Also returning from the Bayakoa is George Krikorian's Show Stealer (fourth), along with Thomas Traver and Priscilla Webb's Autumn Flower (sixth).

The lone outsider in the short field is Enduring Erin, who is owned by Paymaster Racing and trainer Richard Baltas. Since Baltas claimed the Kela mare for $40,000 out of the a July 31 grass race at Del Mar, she has won two conditional allowance races. Her only loss in three starts for Baltas came behind Autumn Flower in an Oct. 16 allowance race at Santa Anita.

Entries: La Canada S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, January 14, 2017, Race 5

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:29 PM (local)
11Vale Dori (ARG)Mike E. Smith125Bob Baffert1/5
22Show Stealer (KY)Tyler Baze120Art Sherman12/1
33Wild At Heart (KY)Flavien Prat120Richard E. Mandella9/2
44Enduring Erin (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey S. Nakatani120Richard Baltas8/1
55Autumn Flower (KY)Drayden Van Dyke120Dan L. Hendricks12/1