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ARCADIA, CA – Abbondanza Racing, Medallion Racing, and MyRacehorse.com’s uber-popular Going to Vegas dug in deep to fend off late pushes from Dogtag and stablemate Luck to hit the jackpot in Saturday’s $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
The Rodeo Drive is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Going to Vegas receiving an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar this November.
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Going to Vegas broke well from post 4 as the even-money favorite and went straight to the lead, where Umberto Rispoli piloted her through fractions of :24.35, :48.72, 1:13.49, and 1:36.35 for the opening mile.
Going to Vegas attempted to distance herself from the competition in the far turn, but a pair of rivals both sporting the LNJ Foxwoods silks were on the improve behind her and launched big bids at the top of the stretch.
Going to Vegas refused to yield, however, and kept her rivals at bay with an ultra-gutsy effort late to win the 1 1/4-mile firm turf route by a head in 1:58.84. The final 1/4-mile time was :22.49.
“When it is a Grade 1, you want to give it your all no matter how many people there are waiting for you when you come back, but this is great,” Rispoli said, referencing the overcrowded winner’s circle from the MyRacehorse partnership. “I could hear people screaming and applauding. I was busy because I could feel Flavien was coming. I knew he was coming fast, but we handled pretty well. I’m pretty happy that they decided to get me back on the filly. I credit the owners and Richard as well. She’s a Grade 1 winner now, the next step is a Breeders’ Cup.”
Luck was 1 1/2 lengths better than Dogtag, with 3 1/2 lengths back to Neige Blanche taking fourth by 3/4 of a length over Rideforthecause.
Magic Attitude, Red Lark, Crystalle, and Fast Jet Court completed the order of finish in the race restricted to fillies and mares.
Going to Vegas’ win was her third straight and fourth in her past 5 starts, a streak that includes the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) last time out and March’s Santa Ana Stakes (G3) over the local course. The 4-year-old Goldencents filly’s record improved to 22-7-8-2 with $634,151 earned.
“I’m thrilled with both horses’ performances,” Baltas said. “Going to Vegas has the tactical speed and loves going a mile and 1/4 and she showed it. It was a great ride by (Umberto). My other horse, Luck, really moved up in class. I was really happy with her performance, she really improved in a Grade 1. I’m looking forward to the future with her. We will see how the two horses come out of the race tomorrow, but I feel that both horses are heading to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Going to Vegas returned $4.20 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. Luck brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Dogtag paid $2.60 to show.
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