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CYPRESS, CA – After finishing first in a dead heat in the Tranquility Lake Stakes over the summer, Message and Proud Emma are set for a rematch in Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Los Alamitos.
The Bayakoa is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route open to fillies and mares ages 3 and up. This year’s edition is the fifth event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 2:30 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Bayakoa:
1. Miss Stormy D 7/2 – She makes her first start back since dominating optional claiming rivals in a 1-mile dirt route at Santa Anita Park in February. She seems at home on main tracks after failing to break her maiden in 6 tries on turf, fired a bullet 4-furlong best-of-36 work in :48.20 on December 2, and new jockey Umberto Rispoli is one of the circuit’s best.
2. Blue Diva 4/1/ – She ships down from Golden Gate Fields after the San Francisco-area track shuttered through December 26 due to the pandemic. She touches southern dirt for the first time in this spot after winning once in 4 tries on the northern fair circuit, but she’s yet to find victory through her first 5 starts for current trainer Isidro Tamayo.
3. Donut Girl 12/1 – She’s back on the main track after defeating her fellow California-breds in an optional claiming turf mile at Del Mar and retains jockey Edwin Maldonado for the fifth straight time. Though mostly a grass horse in her career, she owns a win and a third in 3 starts over this course, with her lone defeat coming in the Great Lady M Stakes (G2) this past July.
4. Stellar Sound 9/5 – She was entered against males in the Native Diver Stakes (G3) last month, but trainer Michael McCarthy opted to scratch her in favor of this lighter spot. After making her first 4 career starts for a different barn, she won her debut for McCarthy (after an eight-month layoff) by 7 lengths in a mile-long Santa Anita Park optional claiming event.
5. Message 7/2 – She makes her first start back since co-winning the Tranquility Lake, a 1-mile dirt route at Del Mar in late August. The second of her 3 career wins to date came over this course last December against optional claimers, which she wired by 9 lengths, and she keeps the circuit’s leading rider Flavien Prat aboard for the second straight start.
6. Proud Emma 9/2 – She should appreciate returning to a main track after running last from start to finish in the Kathryn Crosby Stakes on the Del Mar lawn; all 5 of her career victories came on California and Kentucky dirt. She keeps the services of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who piloted her in the Tranquility Lake and has won 2 of the past 3 editions of this race.
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