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La Brea Preview: Lightstream, Finley’sluckycharm Ship West

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Highly regarded Lightstream will step out for the first time in her six race career with new California connections backing her. Prominent So Cal owners, Little Red Feather Racing, have recently bought a share in the Florida-based filly by Harlan’s Holiday, who could very likely go off as the favorite over hometown hero, Enola Gray, in the 45th running of the Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Dec. 26.

A winner of the Grade II Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 22, Lightstream has never run out of the money, even in her last three graded stakes attempts. Trained by Brian Lynch, Lightstream was a second place finisher in the Grade I Test at Saratoga on Aug. 6 and ran third in the Grade I Mother Goose at Belmont on July 2. Julien Leparoux, aboard for her first two races, and also her most recent victory, will travel west and once again have the mount.

Lightstream is owned by Up Hill Stable, Head of Plains Partners, LLC and Little Red Feather Racing. In six career races she has amassed earnings of $457,000.

Enola Gray will have a new rider Monday at Santa Anita Park. The 3-year-old filly will gain Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith for the first time in six career outings.

Bred in California by owner Nick Alexander, Enola Gray has been on everyone’s list since an impressive 16 ¼ lengths win in her first ever outing, a six and-a-half furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita on April 10. Since then, the Phil D’Amato trained filly by Grazen hasn’t run worse than second. A winner of three ungraded stakes earlier in the year – the Melair on May 28, the Fleet Treat on July 22 and the California Distaff Handicap down the hillside turf course on Oct 15, “Gray” will take a shot at her first-ever added money attempt in the La Brea.

Top Choice

#2 Lightstream – When it comes to running seven furlongs you can’t have a much better record than Lightstream.  Sometimes its hard to find seven furlong races, but this filly has found five of them, and has been victorious in four of those efforts! Her only loss at the distance was in the Grade 1 Test Stakes this summer at Saratoga where she finished second to Paola Queen by three quarters of a length.  She rebounded off that loss to win the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland last time out so she heads into this race in great shape to pick up a big time win.

Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers

#3 Finley’sluckycharm – If not for the back class and stakes experience of Lightstream I would have picked Finley’sluckycharm on top.  In fact I almost did anyway, but in the end the lack of big stakes experience was just too much to look past for this filly.  That doesn’t mean I don’t give this filly a big chance though as she’s ran faster races than anyone else in the field.  The plan will be simple…break fast and go right to the lead and never look back.  Finley’sluckycharm has never trailed at any point in a race this year!  Big time player.

#7 Enola Gray – I certainly don’t like her as much as I use to when she burst onto the scene, but I still give her a big shot in this one.  She runs tremendous over this track, and that was the deciding factor for me to put her in this spot.  She does have some negatives as she’s never won a race against open company and she’s coming in off of a loss last time out.  Still…I feel like this is one you don’t want to beat you as she’ll make you feel very foolish if you do.

Exotic Plays

#8 Perfect Pic – Has only ran three times in her career, but all three have been pretty solid efforts.  Last time in the LA Woman Stakes at Santa Anita she got into a bit of a speed duel and never could quite recover from it and finished third.  She might be in that exact same spot here if she can’t relax, but at least she’s drawn to the outside so maybe they can get her to sit off the lead this time.

#6 Chao Chom – I know she beat Enola Gray fairly easily last time out, but that is not a race we’ve consistently seen from her.  That is not a knock on this filly as she’s ran well in almost every start, but she took it to another level last time out.  It might be hard for her to match that type of race again, and she’ll need to do it to win in this spot.  Tough filly though, and one to play underneath.

Party Crashers

#4 Constellation – Made her first start last time out for Jerry Hollendorfer after running for Steve Asmussen to begin her career.  At one time this filly was highly thought of, but last time out she showed up at Turf Paradise in a 30k stakes.  The good news is she won that stakes with ease so perhaps Hollendorfer has her figured out.  She’ll need to be a price to place a wager on her, but with Hollendorfer on her side she’s not without a chance.

#1 Lunar Empress – This will be her first try in a stakes race which is obviously a negative, but she’s sneaky because she has run some very solid allowance races leading up to this one.  Honestly, chances are she won’t be ready for a race of this magnitude, but if you like playing long shots she’s more than logical.  This race will give her connections a good indication on where to try next.

Throw Outs

#5 Coniah – At one time this horse looked to be fairly decent, but after a few trainer changes I’m very skeptical.  Plus, last time out she had a terrible effort at Zia Park losing by ten lengths and finishing fourth.  Hard for me to support her after that effort in a race like this one.

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