09/27/2012 3:01PM

Santa Anita: Rodeo Drive sole focus for Marketing Mix


ARCADIA, Calif. – For this weekend, the focus with the 4-year-old filly Marketing Mix is the $250,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

The future can wait, trainer Tom Proctor says. He wants Marketing Mix to win the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive and confirm that she can win a race at the highest level.

“She needs to win one,” he said.

[SANTA ANITA: Get PPs and watch Saturday's full card live]

Proctor was reluctant to talk about a potential start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

“This is not a prep,” he said of the Rodeo Drive. “This is the real deal.”

The Rodeo Drive Stakes, run in past years as the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, is annually one of the top turf races for fillies and mares in California. The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Filly and Mare Turf, provided the winner is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.

Marketing Mix will be favored to win the Rodeo Drive. Owned by Glen Hill Farm, the 4-year-old filly has won half of her 14 starts and $1,149,518. She won two Grade 2 races at Woodbine earlier this year – the Nassau and Dance Smartly Stakes – and was second by a head to I’m a Dreamer in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park.

The Beverly D. was a frustrating loss for Proctor, coming in one of the nation’s top races of the year for female turf runners.

“She had full sail on the winner from the eighth pole home,” he said.

Proctor has three of the 13 runners in the Rodeo Drive, which is run over 1 1/4 miles. He also starts Vivo Per Lei, who was third in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Sept. 3; and Left a Message, who was third as the 5-2 favorite in the CTT and TOC Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 24.

The race has drawn a strong field, including eight stakes winners.

Among the notable runners are Nereid and Cambina, who finished in a dead heat for first in the Grade 1 American Oaks in July 2011 but have not won since; Stormy Lucy, who was second at 43-1 in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 18; and the multiple stakes winner City to City, who was second in the Yellow Ribbon earlier this month.

They will all be in pursuit of Let’s Go Cheyenne, who makes her graded stakes debut after winning the CTT and TOC Handicap. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Let’s Go Cheyenne led by as many as 12 lengths in that race and finished 5 3/4 lengths in front of Left a Message.

She cuts back in distance for this race. Cerin expects another bold effort from the front-runner.

“She’s been training really well,” he said. “At that distance, not many can go that fast for that long.”