La Vitesse looks to deliver on promise in Blue Mountain
Item narrowly won the Maryland Million Lassie. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
by Martha Claussen
Previously contested for $75,000, the purse for the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies has been increased to $100,000 this year and accordingly attracted a quality group of Pennsylvania-bred rising stars. Ten fillies will compete at the distance of six furlongs in the second race of the Wednesday, November 23rd card at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course that also includes the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap and $100,000 Swatara.
While the field is a full one, La Vitesse, owned by ERJ Racing LLC, St. Elias Racing Stables, LLC and Robert N. Verratti, figures to attract a considerable bit of attention in her stakes debut on Wednesday evening.
The Wegelia filly started her racing career in California with trainer Doug O’Neill and made three starts facing the likes of Champagne Room and Noted and Quoted at Del Mar before breaking her maiden at Los Alamitos on September 23. Following her maiden breaking score, she was sent to Parx and transferred to trainer Scott Lake, where she added her second win three weeks ago. Jockey Ruben Silvera was aboard as La Vitesse dominated by 14 lengths, crossing the wire of her six furlong allowance in 1.11.76.
“We have only had her for a month, but she had been breezing lights out in the mornings,” said Lake. “She is a nice, calm filly and could have easily won that race by 20 lengths. She came out of that in great shape and has been training well. I am very fortunate to have her in my barn and we look forward to seeing her step up to stakes company.”
La Vitesse will break from post position six as the 8-5 morning-line favorite and once again has the services of Silvera.
Several other fillies look very capable, including the coupled entry of Item and Ianthe owned by Thomas Coulter, with a morning line of 7-2. Item, a daughter of Orientate won the Maryland Million Lassie at Laurel Park for trainer Rodrigo Madrigal, Sr., while Ianthe is making her stakes bow off an impressive ten-length maiden-breaking win in her career debut on September 22 at Penn National.
Jeremy Rose reunites with Ianthe, while Tyler Conner will again guide Item on Wednesday.
Despite being a maiden, Poindexter Thoroughbreds’ Spanker (4-1), is the only filly in the field other than Item to have appeared in stakes company to date, having finished second in the $150,000 Mrs. Henry D. Paxson Memorial Stakes at Presque Isle on September 18.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche has the call for trainer David Cannizzo on the daughter of Cape Blanco.
Rose Tree (6-1), who posted an impressive nine-length maiden win at Delaware Park on October 15 for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Cocleecho (15-1), Hygh Life (15-1), Pistol Andie (8-1) and the entry of Polarized and Peach Alley (10-1) complete the field.
“We are grateful to these outstanding horsemen for their support of each of the three features on next Wednesday’s racing program,” said Eric Johnston, Director of Racing Operations for Penn National. “It will be an outstanding night of racing and entertaining way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Post time for the first race on the Wednesday, November 23 card is 6:05 p.m. EST with the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies set as the first stakes event in Race 2 at 6:32pm.