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CYPRESS, CA – Baoma Corporation’s Varda ran off late to score a big upset in Saturday’s $300,000 Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos.
Varda broke from the far outside post under Drayden Van Dyke as the 17/1 fourth choice in the field of five juvenile fillies and lingered at the rear while running in the clear.
Kalypso shot out along the rail and posted opening fractions of :22.91 and :46.43 before the 3/5 favorite Princess Noor ranged up to take the lead in the far turn under Victor Espinoza.
Princess Noor suddenly pulled up near the 1/4 pole, giving the lead back to Kalypso at the top of the stretch, but Varda was rallying hot on their heels.
Taking over at the 1/16 pole, the Bob Baffert trainee crossed 1 1/2 lengths clear while completing the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:44.53.
“She always tries hard,” said Van Dyke, who has now won the race 4 years running, all aboard Baffert trainees. “She broke well and we just waited. She needed every bit of that long stretch.”
Kalypso was 4 lengths clear of Nasreddine, herself 8 lengths ahead of the 6/5 second choice Astute. Princess Noor was vanned off the track, but initial reports indicated that she was relatively unharmed.
The Starlet is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Varda earned 10 points for the win, with Kalypso receiving 4 for second, Nasreddine 2 for third, and Astute 1 for fourth.
Varda’s win was her first at the stakes level and came after finishing second to Princess Noor in the Chandelier Stakes (G2). The New York-bred Distorted Humor filly, purchased for $700,000 as a yearling, has now earned $254,500.
“(Varda) had been working really well and she looked like the kind of filly that the farther the better with her, so that’s why we’ve been waiting and waiting with her,” said Baffert, who also saddled Kalypso and Princess Noor. “Victor said he pulled (Princess Noor) up right away. He said it didn’t look real bad. It was her left front. We’re going to take her back to the barn and take X-rays and see what the deal is. I can’t believe it. She was running so easy.”
Varda returned $37.80 to win, $8.40 to place, and $5.80 to show. Kalypso brought back $7.80 to place and $7.40 to show, while Nasreddine paid $9.80 to show.
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