November 30, 2023

Vale Dori towers over four La Canada opponents

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum's Vale Dori and jockey Mike Smith winning the Bayakoa Handicap (G2) ©Benoit Photo

An easy winner of the December 3 Bayakoa (G2), Vale Dori can continue to enhance her reputation in Saturday’s $200,000 La Canada (G2) at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old mare will be an odds-on favorite against four rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

A Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, Vale Dori made her North American bow for new trainer Bob Baffert in early August. She captured the Tranquility Lake at Del Mar in her second U.S. start and followed with a non-threatening third to Stellar Wind and Beholder in the Zenyatta (G1).

Since getting away from those powerhouse foes, Vale Dori has been dominant. The daughter of Asiatic Boy posted a 10-length allowance tally at Santa Anita in late October and rolled to a three-length decision in the aforementioned Bayakoa. She will keep Mike Smith in the saddle.

Related: Vale Dori lives up to 1-2 favoritism in Bayakoa

Bayakoa runner-up Wild At Heart has the best chance at an upset. The 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare has never finished off the board in eight dirt starts (2-4-2) and displayed a solid turn of foot while stretching back out to a route last time, advancing to challenge in upper stretch. She’s eligible to keep moving forward for Richard Mandella and regains the services of Flavien Prat.

Claimed for $40,000 in late July, Enduring Erin steps up for Richard Baltas in good form, winning two of her last three attempts over allowance/optional claiming rivals. The 7-year-old is making her stakes debut in her 33rd career outing and Corey Nakatani picks up the mount.

Show Stealer and Autumn Flower, fourth and sixth in the Bayakoa, complete the line-up.