Lady Eli Ready to Roll in Gamely Stakes
By: Laurie Ross, IMTBreds
The Gamely Stakes (G1) Stakes held at 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita turf has an extensive history filled with illustrious stars. The event was held at now defunct Hollywood Park through 2013. The roll call of splendid fillies includes Champions such as Estrapade, who took on Manila and Theatrical in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Turf; Toussaud, better known as the dam of Empire Maker, Chester House, Honest Lady, Chiselling and Decarchy; Hollywood Wildcat, Possibly Perfect, and Fiji. More recently, the names of Citronnade, Tuscan Evening, Marketing Mix and Hard Not To Like have lit the tote.
This year, six very competitive fillies will vie for the Gamely Stakes trophy. All eyes will be on Lady Eli as she makes her second start of the season. The mare won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and was denied victory by a slim nose in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. In her 2017 season debut, Lady Eli found trouble during the running of the Jenny Wiley Stakes and just missed the win by a nose. She’s the classiest and most talented of the Gamely field, owns the highest late pace speed figure in the field (102), and has previously won over the Santa Anita turf.
Goodyearforroses (Ire) had a three-race win streak snapped in the Jenny Wiley, but is back on her home turf. After a so-so record at Woodbine, the mare settled into the barn of California trainer Richard Baltas. Goodyearforroses loves Santa Anita and is unbeaten there. She signaled her readiness drilling 4F in 4.8 with Nakatani in the saddle. Goodyearforroses owns the second highest late pace speed figure of 101.
At 12-1, September Stars (Ire) is one to watch. After an undistinguished career facing good fillies in England, the four-year-old daughter of Sea the Stars joined Paddy Gallagher’s barn. She outclassed optional claimers in both starts this year at 1 1/8 miles and will get a class test. Her speed figures improved in each start and California legend Gary Stevens will once again be in the irons.
Pretty Girl has been no match for Goodyearforroses in her first two starts of the year but was best of the rest. Pretty Girl ran out of real estate in the one mile Royal Heroine Stakes last time out but missed by a fast closing two lengths. Her improving speed figures indicate that she’s one to include in exotics.
Mokat hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since last July at Del Mar. She came within a half-length of victory in the Royal Heroine last time out and has flashed back-to-back bullets, but Mokat hasn’t finished in the money in three starts at 1 1/8 miles. Her best races lie ahead at her favorite track, Del Mar.
Avenge will lead them on a merry chase from post one, but how long she keep them at bay is anyone’s guess. The Richard Mandella trainee is making her first start of the season and has never won off a layoff. She typically needs a few starts to get the legs stretched out.
Avenge does her best work on the front end. As a confirmed front runner, she could do one of two things, either slow the pace and try to last or get enough distance in front to outlast the rest. Lady Eli can be placed anywhere and will likely settle just off Avenge or perhaps in third place. Her far outside post should offer a clear trip. Pretty Girl, Goodyearforroses, and September Stars will sort themselves out mid-pack while MoKat will make one run from the back of the pack.
#6 LADY ELI (4-5)
#4 GOODYEARFORROSES (4-1)
#2 SEPTEMBER STARS (12-1)
#3 PRETTY GIRL (12-1)
Not a good betting race. The only hope for a decent payout is if one of the fillies gets the better of Lady Eli.
$2 Superfecta box #6, #4, #2, #3 = $48
$1 Tri key #6/#4, #2, #3/#4, #2, #3 = $24
$2 Quinella box #6, #4, #2, #3 = $12$16 - lunch