Smith and Mandella team up for turf win
ARCADIA, Calif. – Heavily favored Brazilian-bred Jolie Olimpica got back to sprinting and ran to the betting in winning Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita by a half length. Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Richard Mandella, the 4-year-old filly by 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer got 5 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:01.11–just 11/100s of a second off of her own course record set this past Jan. 11.
Breaking from post position six in a field of seven fillies and mares, Jolie Olimpica settled well early and was a joint third with Into Mystic, about 2 ½ lengths off the lead set by Stealthediamonds three furlongs out. With Smith sitting still to the furlong pole, “Jolie” gradually wore down Stealthediamonds late and prevailed over a fast finishing Oleksandra on the money.
“What a nice filly,” said Mandella, who had saddled her to a disappointing second place finish in her most recent start, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes, at one mile on turf Feb. 22. “She basically ran back to her race here two-back (a facile win in the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf Jan. 11). She was so relaxed today. She’s settled nicely into our system and now I think she’ll go longer. I think Mike could’ve done whatever he wanted (with her) today.”
Unbeaten in three starts in Brazil, Jolie Olimpica, who is out of the Trempolino mare Jolie Celina, made her third stateside start today and was off as the 4-5 favorite, returning $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10.
Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Jolie Olimpica now has five wins from six overall starts. She’s also a two-time group or graded stakes winner, as she took a Brazilian Group I at one mile on turf on June 9, 2019, her final start in Brazil. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she now has earnings of $271,520.
“We know she’s very effective going short,” said Smith, who’s been aboard for all of her local starts. “I do believe she’ll get a mile for sure. She should be able to do it pretty handily, the way she’s bred, she should get a mile and a half if she wanted to. It’s funny if you look at her breeding, it makes you wonder where all that speed is coming from, but she’s extremely talented and she’s proven herself going short.” (Smith was also the rider of Drosselmeyer when he won the 2010 Belmont).
Last turning for home, Australian-bred Oleksandra flew late to be second by a half length over Stealthediamonds. Ridden by Joel Rosario, Oleksandra was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $3.20 and $2.40. Breaking from the rail, Stealthediamonds was third in a big effort under Agapito Delgadillo. Off at 8-1, she paid $3.00 to show. Fractions on the race were 21.40, 43.48 and 55.05.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Jolie Olimpica. Credit: Benoit Photos