By Bob Mieszerski —-
CYPRESS, Calif. – Champagne Room, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2016, will make her Los Alamitos debut in the $200,000-guaranteed Bayakoa Stakes Sunday at Los Alamitos.
A Grade II for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, the Bayakoa will be run for the first time at Los Alamitos since 2014. The race wasn’t offered in 2015 and was run last year at Del Mar. Prior to 2014, the Bayakoa, which was originally known as the Silver Belles Handicap, was contested at Hollywood Park.
Post time Sunday is 12:30 p.m. The Bayakoa is the eighth of nine races and has an approximate post time of 4 p.m.
Trained by Peter Eurton for a partnership that includes Ciaglia Racing LLC, Exline-Border LLC and Gulliver Racing LLC, Champagne Room has won three of eight and earned $1,450,600. The biggest victory for the 3-year-old daughter of Broken Vow came when she captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies 13 months ago as a 33-1 outsider.
Out of the Bernstein mare Lucky to Be Me, Champagne Room has a win in two starts this year. She wired four opponents as the prohibitive favorite in the Remington Park Oaks Sept. 24 before fading to sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 3 at Del Mar.
Eurton also entered the improving Pacific Wind. A 3-year-old Curlin filly out of the Dixieland Band mare Shag owned by Sharon Alesia, Ciaglia Racing LLC, Peter Brant and Dominic Savides, Pacific Wind comes off an optional claiming win Oct. 21 in her first try on dirt.
A $200,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2015, Pacific Wind has won two of six and banked $111,745.
Majestic Heat, an impressive winner of the seven-furlong Betty Grable Stakes Nov. 12 in her initial attempt on dirt, will stretch out for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.
Owned by Bardy Farm, Ron McCauley and breeder Madeline Auerbach, the 5-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat and the Ole’ mare Chi Chi Nette is 6-for-15 with a bankroll of $410,329.
Constellation, winner of the Grade I La Brea Stakes last Dec. 26 when trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, will be making her first start beyond seven furlongs in her second race for Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert.
A 4-year-old Bellamy Road filly out of the Not for Love mare For Royalty, Constellation, who is owned by L N J Foxwoods, has won five of 13 and earned $619,464. She has worked three times since being eased in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 4.
Baffert will be looking for his third consecutive victory in the Bayakoa. He won locally with Tiz Midnight in 2014 and with Vale Dori last year.
Hollendorfer, who won three of the last four runnings of the Bayakoa at Hollywood Park, will be represented Sunday by Street Surrender.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, the 4-year-old Street Boss filly has won six of 18. Out of the Crafty Prospector mare Sweet Sierra, Street Surrender has earned $203,807.
Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC, Shenandoah Queen returns to Southern California after finishing sixth in the Grade II Chilukki Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
A daughter of Henny Hughes and the Parade Ground mare High Speed Goldie, the 5-year-old won the restricted Tranquility Lake Aug. 25 when 20-1 in her lone try on dirt in California. She’s 5-for-12 with earnings of $113,300.
Madame Stripes goes turf to dirt for Gainesway Stable and Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale after finishing 11th of 14 in the Grade II Goldikova Nov. 4.
An Argentine bred daughter of Equal Stripes and the Silver Finder mare Courtisane, Madame Stripes, who has won three of 15 and banked $229,218, hasn’t raced on dirt since finishing fourth in the Group I Seleccion Oct. 12, 2015 at the Hipodromo in her native country. Her maiden victory came on the main track in her second career start at the same venue June 13, 2015.
Third in an optional claimer on turf Nov 5, Bernina Star returns to dirt for D P Racing and trainer Jim Cassidy. The 3-year-old Harlan’s Holiday filly and the Bernardini mare Date to Remember has won two of 14 and earned $144,661.
From inside out, the field for the Bayakoa Stakes: Street Surrender, Evin Roman rides, 119 pounds; Champagne Room, Mario Gutierrez, 121; Majestic Heat, Mike Smith, 119; Madame Stripes, Joe Talamo, 119; Constellation, Drayden Van Dyke, 124; Pacific Wind, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Shenandoah Queen, Victor Espinoza, 119 and Bernina Star, Santiago Gonzalez.