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Vasilika Gives Connections Renewed Hope in Buena Vista

Ernie Belmonte

ARCADIA, CA – Mere hours after her stablemate Battle of Midway was put to restVasilika brought renewed hope to their shared connections by Saturday’s Buena Vista Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

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Breaking from post 9 as the 4/5 favorite under Flavien Prat, Vasilika settled toward the rear while the speedy Fahan Mura blitzed to a tremendous early lead while posting opening fractions of :22.53, :45.48, and 1:09.37. Heading into the far turn, Vasilika began moving around the outside of her foes, picking them off one by one until she emerged onto the top of the stretch in fourth and full of run. Fahan Mura soon gave way along the inside, but storming home down the center of the course came Vasilika. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee crossed 1 1/2 lengths in front in a final time of 1:33.35 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.

“By the 3/8 pole, I could see we were making ground and probably would be able to catch the leader, Fahan Mura,” said Prat, who also rode the Hollendorfer-conditioned Battle of Midway in 13 of his 16 career starts. “I did have to ask her in the stretch, but as soon as I switched my stick to my left hand, she made a very nice move.”

In second came the late-rallying 53/1 longshot Streak of Luck, while Ms Bad Behavior was able to outkick Take These Chains for third by a neck. The rest of the field was close behind, with Amandine taking fifth over a clustered clump consisting of Elysea’s WorldEnglish DancerCompelled, and a spent Fahan Mura. The distance between third and eighth was less than 3 lengths. Zaffinah was scratched.

Vasilika’s win was her second straight following the Megahertz Stakes (G3) here on January 21 and improved her overall record to 30-15-4-3. The $120,000 first-place prize money pushed her career earnings mark to $ for co-owners Hollendorfer, All Schlaich Stables, Gatto Racing, and George Todaro.

“I don’t know if there’s anything this horse can’t do, if there is, we haven’t found out yet,” Hollendorfer said. “I thought going down the backside, Flavien had a good idea of how fast they were going, so he started moving a little earlier than he usually does, then she kicked in her last eighth like she always does and ran very well.”

Vasilika has a running line of 12-10-1-0 since Hollendorfer claimed her for $40,000 on February 11, 2018.

“If I could answer why she is so consistent and so special, I wouldn’t have to work,” Hollendorfer quipped.

The 5-year-old daughter of Skipshot had her eight-race win streak snapped two races back when she finished a close fourth in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on December 2.

“She’s one of our favorites and she comes through every time,” Hollendorfer told TVG after the race. “A couple times that she didn’t win, she tried really hard. We’re blessed to have her.”

Vasilika returned $3.60 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Streak of Luck brought back $18.80 to place and $6.80 to show, while Ms Bad Behavior paid $3.80 to show.

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