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The Racing Dudes react to Going to Vegas winning the 2022 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a “Win & You’re In” for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The Phil D’Amato trainee won the race gate to wire for the second straight year; is she a threat at the World Championships? Watch the replay for the Racing Dudes’ INSTANT reactions, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Back to defend her title in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes and stamp her ticket to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the Phil D’Amato-trained Going to Vegas was flawless on the front end today at Santa Anita as she waltzed gate to wire under Umberto Rispoli, getting a mile and one quarter on turf in 1:59.41 while never being seriously challenged.
A Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the Chandelier victory thus provides Going to Vegas with a fee-paid berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
Handled adroitly by Rispoli, Going to Vegas, a 5-year-old mare by Goldencents, made the lead with consummate ease from her number three post position, held a three quarter length advantage under the wire the first time and with Rispoli pulling the trigger at the top of the lane, she prevailed by 1 ¼ lengths over midwestern invader Family Way in a tremendous effort.
Most recently a troubled third in the Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 10, Going to Vegas stretched out an eighth of a mile today and returned $7.20, $3.20 and $3.00 while off as the 5-2 third choice in a field of seven fillies and mares.
Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC, Medallion Racing and MyRacehorse, Going to Vegas, who was claimed 18 starts back for $50,000, now has two Grade I wins and six wins from 15 tries over the Santa Anita turf. With the winner’s share of $180,000, she increased her earnings to $989,151.
Out of the Johannesburg mare Hard to Resist, Going to Vegas carved out splits of 23.82, 48.60, 1:13.42 and 1:36.61.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Family Way made a good late run and paid $3.60 and $3.20 while off as the second choice at 5-2.
Longshot Bellamore, ridden by Kyle Frey, paid $9.20 while off at 30-1.
UMBERTO RISPOLI, GOING TO VEGAS, WINNER: “We were expecting to go to the lead. We had the same plan and everything worked well. I haven’t been on her since last March, but she gave me that same feeling as the last time. At the top of the stretch, she took off. She felt good, was really relaxed and she did everything. She always responds. I think she really loves this track. It’s on to Keeneland.”
PHIL D’AMATO, GOING TO VEGAS, WINNER: “This was our plan all along to focus on this race to bring us to the Breeders’ Cup and we got the job done. (Umberto Rispoli) knows her very well, so I just kind of legged him up. I thought we’d be on the lead but, he had a plan. Plan A worked and he got the job done and got us into the Breeders’ Cup.”
BING BUSH, ABBONDANZA RACING, GOING TO VEGAS, WINNER: “This is an absolute dream come true. I cannot even believe it and to be here right now with our Abbondaza partners, it is just so magical, and to be here with MyRacehorse and Medallion, it has just been an incredible journey that she has taken us on. We thought about selling her last year and we decided to keep her, and now we are going to go to Keeneland, my home track, where I grew up in Lexington, and (we) get to go there with this great filly. Phil’s done an amazing job with her. I cannot possibly say enough.”
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