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Buena Vista Handicap; The White Witch Makes Her 2014 Debut

Buena Vista Handicap; The White Witch Makes Her 2014 Debut: The (GIII) Buena Vista Handicap is an annual race run mid-February at Santa Anita Park in balmy Arcadia, California. This years race is set for Monday, February 17, 2014 for fillies and mares 4 years-old and up on the grass going one mile (8 furlongs) for a purse of $200,000 and is the Presidents Day card feature race.

Buena Vista Handicap Egg Drop

Egg Drop getting ready to put in a work at Santa Anita Park.

The Buena Vista Handicap was inaugurated in 1988 and was run in two divisions in 1992. The speed record is tied at 1:33.48 by Media Nox in 1997 and Gold Fleece in 1992. The most wins by a jockey are by Corey Nakatani with 3 and Kent Desormeaux with 3. Robert Frankel has the most wins by a trainer with 5 and no horse has won this race twice. Mizdirection won this race last year with Mike Smith up for trainer Mike Puype.

The 2014 Buena Vista Handicap is the 7th race of the day on a card of 9 with a start time of 3:30 pm, PST. This looks to be a great card of racing with ten scrappy ladies ready for a win.

Owned by Little Red Feather Racing, the Florida bred pacesetting Egg Drop battled back after giving away the lead in the stretch to score a nose victory over Discreet Marq last out in the final Matriarch Stakes (GI) at Betfair Hollywood Park on December 1, 2013 giving herself a nice hat-trick with 3 wins in a row. Trainer Mike Mitchell was more than thrilled and it was the closest finish in the 32 runnings of that race on the final day of the Turf Festival plus her first (GI) score. A 4 year-old daughter of Alphabet Soup/Rehocracy/Adhocracy, she has surely blossomed since being handed-over to the grass earlier this year. She previously had run 7 starts on both dirt and synthetic surfaces before the switch and has now won 4 of 5 on it. Prior to the Matriarch she has two (GII) wins, one in the Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita going a mile on November 3, 2013 and the Yellow Ribbon Handicap on September 2, 2013. She has some nice works at Santa Anita on the dirt where she most recently breezed 5f in 1:00.40, 6/15 on February 10th and on February 3rd she worked 6F in 1:12.60, 3/7. Egg Drop has won half of her twelve starts and has a race record of 12:6:2:2. She once again gets the services of Martin Garcia in the irons from post #2

There is a nice 4 year-old in here by the name of Pontchatrain that could be knocking on the door here for Gary Stevens who rides again and leaves from lucky #7. This Tom Proctor trained daughter of War Front/Dominica/Housebuster is also coming in here off a hat-trick with three straight wins and with her last one being a (GII) in the Monvovia Stakes on January 5th at Santa Anita. In that race she ran 6 1/2f on the turf downhill where she stalked between horses while scraping the paint on the rail to go around and outside a rival, gained on the pacesetter to take the lead midstretch to win under a steady hand. She finished that race in 1:11.14, just 1/100th of a second off the track record. She does have a win at the distance of 1 1/16 on the turf at Del Mar on July 28, 2013. Her only off the board finish was on August 8th, 2013 at Del Mar going this distance where she finished 4th. Look out, this hottie is ready to burn up the grass.

Call me crazy but I’m digging the Argentinian here Miss Serendipity shooting from the #1 hole with Bejarano riding. The Ronald McAnally trained daughter of Not For Sale (ARG)/Marca Registrada/Candy Stripes is coming off a disappointing 2-1 favorite loss when she made her U.S. debut in the Paseana Stakes on January 12, 2014. The 6 year-old mare finished fourth, beaten by 2 1/4 lengths going 1 1/16 on the dirt. She had good early speed in that race a bit off the rail, gave up the front in the backstretch, saved ground stalking, came out a bit in the midstretch but just didn’t have enough late kick left in her and barely missed the show. Gary Stevens rode her then and the race just didn’t pan out with her being on the early lead where she just didn’t want to be. McAnally expects improvement with the switch back to the turf and a shorter distance. Her last race in Argentina she won an easy four-length race going 1 1/4 miles on the grass under 132 pounds on June 29th, 2013 in the Estrellas Distaff (GI). Mucho impressive and I expect this lady to come in the money.

I’m going with one of my favorites in the 2014 Buena Vista Handicap, Egg Drop, aka The White Witch, to win the 2014 Buena Vista Handicap. She won’t have the 10-1 odds she did last time so I won’t be betting this race. I have to work all day anyway and will miss watching it. It will be interesting to see if she or Pontchatrain can pull of a fourth win in a row. There are some others in here that are going to be really tough and could easily upset the apple-cart. I think Miss Serendipity is going to run much better than last time out and can hit the board. Good luck to Egg Drop, Little Red Feather Racing and all of the other gals in this race and their connections.

Buena Vista Handicap 2014 Post Positions & Odds
1. Miss Serendipity 6/1 (ARG) R. Bejarano/R.McAnally
2. Egg Drop 5/2 M. Garcia/M.Mitchell
3. Appealing 20/1 (IRE) B.Blanc/P.Gallagher
4. Tapicat 4/1 J.R.Velazquez/W.Mott
5. Moone’s My Name 12/1 V.Espinoza/J.Sadler
6. Dancingtothestars 8/1 M.Gutierrez/D.O’Neill
7. Pontchatrain 3/1 G.Stevens/T.Proctor
8. Unusual Hottie 20/1 T.Baze/J.Mullins
9. Stormy Lucy 8/1 I.D.Enriquez/F.Lucarelli
10. Customer Base 8/1 M.Smith/T.Proctor