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Las Virgenes Preview: Moonlight d’Oro Steps Up
Moonlight d'Oro (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Las Virgenes Preview: Moonlight d’Oro Steps Up

ARCADIA, CA – Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s Moonlight d’Oro steps up to face winners for the first time in Saturday’s $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.

The Las Virgenes is a two-turn dirt mile route restricted to 3-year-old fillies. This year’s edition is the third event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 1:00 PM.

The Las Virgenes is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season, with the winner earning 10 points, 4 points to second, 2 to third, and 1 to the fourth-place finisher.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Las Virgenes:

1. Moraz 5/2 – She returns to a course and distance over which she broke her maiden at second asking by an eye-popping 11 lengths in her second career start. She was third to Moonlight d’Oro on debut, but she improved greatly last time out, and with some experience under her belt, she could sit in a close stalking trip before trying to pounce on the leaders in the stretch.

2. Kalypso 5/2 – The only multiple-race winner in the field accomplished both victories in stakes action, first in October’s 6-furlong Anoakia and then in the 7-furlong Santa Ynez (G2) last month. She stretches out to route again after leading but getting caught and finishing second in December’s Starlet Stakes (G1). She’ll need to better ration her speed here if she hopes to win.

3. Moonlight d’Oro 1/1 – She broke her maiden at third asking in her routing debut, a mid-December 1-mile Los Alamitos event where she was 16 lengths ahead of third-place Moraz. She hit the board in both prior starts, each a dirt sprint at Del Mar, but Mandella has long believed that routing would be her best game and her most recent performance backs up that statement.

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4. Honor America 10/1 – She stretches out to try routing for the first time after breaking her maiden by a nose with a hard-fought gate-to-wire triumph going 6 furlongs over this course. She set the pace before yielding late while debuting in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Los Alamitos, so expect her to be prominent early under the meet’s current leading rider Juan Hernandez.

5. Brilliant Cut 8/1 – She sheds blinkers (a 13% winning move for trainer Doug O’Neill) after prompting the pace and finishing third behind Kalypso in the Santa Ynez. O’Neill claimed her for $50k out of her maiden-breaking fourth career start and shows continuned faith by running her back protected against graded stakes rivals in her next 2 starts.

Catch the latest episode of The Magic Mike Show, which covered Santa Anita Park’s Late Pick 4 on Saturday!


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