The last time they met, American Cleopatra and Champagne Room were finishing second and third, respectively, to the blossoming Union Strike in the Del Mar Debutante (GI). But since their chief rival decided to sit out and wait for the Breeders’ Cup, the talented pair will square off in Saturday’s $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (GI). All 12 of the fillies will be routing on the main track for the first time, so pedigree probably is one of the most important considerations. Are they bred to route?
American Cleopatra’s pedigree precedes her as the full sister to racing’s most recent Triple Crown winner and she was brilliant in breaking her maiden at Del Mar by two lengths before her second in the Debutante. Offering no excuses, trainer Bob Baffert put the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile right back in training and she hasn’t missed a beat, working steadily and forwardly. Stewart Elliott will be back aboard and the pair drew a nice middle post position. She won’t need to improve much to win racing just off the expected quick early pace.
Sorrento Stakes (GII) winner Champagne Room ran a strong race in the Debutante from off the pace but could not get past the top two in the stretch. She’s another who has been training well since her last and hasn’t missed a beat and has looked very grown up and mature training over the Santa Anita track since shipping back from Del Mar a month ago. Trainer Pete Eurton said the imposing daughter of Broken Vow is better than ever and she figures to be a strong presence at the wire.
Zappercat broke her maiden by an eye-popping 5 ¼ lengths at Del Mar in August and the daughter of Ghostzapper is training out of her skin at Santa Anita, according to her connections. Her best last-race speed figure puts her in the hunt and her off-the-pace running style is an asset as well. Norberto Arroyo is back aboard and all she’d need is for some pace to come back to her in the lane to earn the win.
With Honors is the only one to have routed, having won her only two races on the turf. This frontrunner drew the rail, which isn’t ideal with her early running style, but she is loaded with talent and strong connections in trainer Keith Desormeaux and jockey Flavien Prat.
Noted and Quoted is the “other” Baffert and though an even fourth in the Debutante last out, has looked well training and we all know to never leave out the “other” Baffert.
Former claimer Bitzka is undefeated her two career starts and looked super winning the Barretts Debutante three weeks ago. This is by far stiffer competition but she’s never done anything wrong and a good effort gives her a good shot.
Datz a Violation was a nice maiden at Thistledown, but struggled in stiff California allowance company last time out.
Princess Coco broke her maiden routing last out and tries winners in a grade 1 for the first time. Lake Time is a last-out maiden winner who gets the services of Hall of Famer Gary Stevens again. Her last work was awesome and she won’t need much improving. California-bred stakes winner Nikki My Darling faces open company for the first time and may struggle. Mistressofhthenight is still a maiden. Demigoddes is way outclassed.
The Chandelier is the afternoon’s 10th with a post time of 5:15 p.m. PT.