Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will send out a talented pair of turf fillies in the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes (GI) at 1 1/4 miles, an event that drew a full field of the best grass females on the West Coast. The race is the last springboard to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI) and the winner is guaranteed a spot in the gate for the race on November 4.
Ramona Bass’ Avenge is fresh off back-to-back victories at Del Mar, including the John C. Mabee Stakes (GIIT) and the 4-year-old War Front filly will again be ridden by hot jock Flavien Prat, who has been aboard for four of her wins.
Argentine-bred Sobradora Inc has only lost once in her brief six-race career, finishing fifth in the Mabee to Avenge. Saturday will be her third U.S. start for trainer Simon Callaghan and owner Katsumi Yoshida of the Japanese racing Yoshida dynasty and will once again have Rafael Bejarano back in the irons.
Majestic Heat is Mandella’s other runner in the race and the daughter of top California stallion Unusual heat was the winner of a one mile turf allowance at Santa Anita in June, and most recently,won the Solana Beach Stakes at Del Mar August 14. Gary Stevens will be back aboard for the partnership of Aurbach, McCauley and Bardy.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux will tighten the girth on Decked out and the Big Chief Racing, LLC, Head of Plains Partners, LLC and Gene Voss colorbearer starts in her sixth straight graded stakes. She’s returning off a runner-up finish in the Del Mar Oaks (GI) on August 20.
Post time for the Rodeo Drive, which is the day’s 8th and is set to leave the gate at 4:09 p.m. PT.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.
After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.
In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”
Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.