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Santa Ynez Preview: Nasreddine Could Be Sharp Cutting Back
Nasreddine (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Santa Ynez Preview: Nasreddine Could Be Sharp Cutting Back

ARCADIA, CA – After finishing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Starlet Stakes (G1), trainer Michael McCarthy’s Nasreddine could be a bit sharper cutting back Sunday’s $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

The Santa Ynez is a 7-furlong dirt sprint restricted to 3-year-old fillies. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 4:00 PM.

The Santa Ynez is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. The winner will earn 10 points, second 4, third 2, and fourth 1.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Santa Ynez:

1. Brilliant Cut 15/1 – She takes the biggest possible step up in class after breaking her maiden against $50k claimers last time out. While it’s an extremely different class here, it’s also a major show of confidence from trainer Doug O’Neill, who tagged her out of that race with this one in mind. O’Neill hits 23% first off the claim and 17% when moving those up to stakes.

2. Nasreddine 6/1 – She debuted against males in a local 5 1/2-furlong sprint and finished second, then broke her maiden going 6 furlongs at Del Mar against her own gender. The third-place horse (Moonlight d’Oro) broke her maiden impressively next time out while earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Jockey Tiago Pereira rides for the third straight time.

3. Exotic West 3/1 – She broke her maiden on debut by a hard-fought 1/2-length in a 6 1/2-furlong Del Mar sprint against a runner-up (Empire House) who broke her maiden next time out. The first of four from trainer Bob Baffert reunites with Abel Cedillo, who connects at 34% with this barn, and is named for her owner/breeders Gary and Mary West.

4. Queengol 4/1 – She broke her maiden on debut by a 1/2-length over Kalypso, who reversed the tables in the local 6-furlong Anoakia Stakes next time out. She finished second again in the Desi Arnaz Stakes while suffering an extremely rough trip early. She also reunites with Flavien Prat, aboard for her first 2 starts before opting to ride the Desi Arnaz winner.

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5. Varda 3/1 – She broke her maiden on debut by 3 1/4 lengths but was a well-beaten second in the Chandelier Stakes (G2) behind fellow Baffert trainee Princess Noor, the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She rebounded to win the Starlet next time out over a pair of these rivals but only earned a 68 Beyer Speed Figure that doesn’t match up well here.

6. Frosteria 5/1 – Though still a maiden through 3 starts, this Baffert trainee has posted stronger Beyer Speed Figures than Varda’s personal best. With Cedillo opting to stay aboard Exotic West, she picks up Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who tends to ride Baffert’s best lately (including Charlatan and Life Is Good). She could be sharp cutting back from a two-turn mile last out.

7. Kalypso 5/2 – Baffert’s fourth sheds the blinkers after putting together a 4-1-2-1 record that includes winning the Anoakia as a maiden. She had a sharp turn of foot early when running with a hood, so new jockey Joel Rosario may have the option to sit off if she learns to settle. Baffert hits at 42% when making such an equipment change.

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