Viernes was nearly 25-1 when she won the $72,000 Waya Handicap on Nov. 28 at Hollywood Park, but she'll be a much shorter price when she tries for an encore in the $75,000-added Reloy Handicap today at Santa Anita. The race is the fifth leg of a pick six with a carry-over of $83,383.
Owned by the California Racing Stable and trained by Paulo Lobo, whose now-retired Farda Amiga won the Eclipse Award as the nation's best 3-year-old filly earlier this week, Viernes had failed to come close in her first three starts in this country.
A winner of four of 12 in South America, the Brazil-bred finished ninth, fifth and sixth at the beginning of her U.S. career, finishing last at 59-1 in the Yellow Ribbon over the Santa Anita turf Oct. 5.
Then, facing less formidable opposition in the Waya and stretching out to 1 1/2 miles, the daughter of Roy rallied three-wide around the turn and drew off in the stretch to win by four lengths.
Viernes, ridden that day by Victor Espinoza, will keep the same jockey as she cuts back to 1 1/4 miles. Three of her wins have been at that distance.
Snowflake, second to Viernes in the Waya, is back to challenge again today.
Race of the day: Ten Cents A Shine, a promising son of Devil His Due trained by Ken McPeek for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, will make his 3-year-old debut in today's eighth, a $36,000 allowance at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park. An Ohio-bred, Ten Cents A Shine will be ridden by Jerry Bailey.
Who's hot: Bill Badgett Jr. The trainer is winning at a 25% clip at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana.
Who's not: Dallas Keen. The trainer lost with 40 of his first 42 starters at the Fair Grounds.
Exotically speaking: A pick four singling Good Cop Bad Cop in the fifth, using Sarah's Beau, Drumo, Countless Moment and Wild Horse Jones in the sixth, singling Viernes in the seventh and Travel Alarm, Jefe De Jefes, Guaritta, Drango and Splendid Nature in the eighth.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 2/77. Money: Previous day/meet total: $13.60/$463.40. Total money bet: $460.