02/18/2012 1:57PM

Santa Anita: Smith has good feeling about Cambina heading into Buena Vista

Benoit & Associates
Cambina, a four-time stakes winner, will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith in Monday's Buena Vista Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Mike Smith was aboard the 4-year-old filly Cambina for the first time in a three-furlong workout at Santa Anita last Thursday. It was a get-to-know session for Smith before Monday’s $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares over a mile on turf.

“I got a feel of her balance and what it takes to get her to relax,” Smith said. “It’s nice to get a feel of her. I could tell that she has a good turn of foot. I didn’t need to use that.”

Smith may need to utilize Cambina’s turn of foot in the Grade 2 Buena Vista, the filly’s first start since an eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

Trained by Jeff Bonde for a partnership, Cambina, a winner of 6 of 15 starts and $390,426, is the 120-pound topweight in the Buena Vista. The race drew an oversubscribed field of 11, but will be limited to 10 starters. Secret Cove, third in the Valentine Dancer Stakes on Jan. 28, is on the also-eligible list.

Last year, Cambina won four turf stakes, at distances ranging from about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in the Grade 3 La Habra Stakes here in February to 1 1/4 miles in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park in July. She was beaten 2 3/4 lengths in the BC Filly and Mare Turf when ridden by Garrett Gomez, who is currently sidelined with a heel injury.

Smith will be Cambina’s third rider in as many races. He was left impressed by Thursday’s workout, in 37.40 seconds. “She felt good, like a good horse should go,” he said.

The Buena Vista has drawn seven fillies who have won stakes since the start of 2011, including the graded stakes winners City to City, and Up In Time and the minor stakes winners Andina, Briecat, Vamo a Galupiar, and Wild Mia.

Vamo a Galupiar will be well-supported on Monday. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Vamo a Galupiar won the minor Megahertz Stakes over a mile on turf here on Jan. 21, her first start since April. She was a Group 1 winner in Chile in 2010.

Up In Time won the Grade 3 Ramser Handicap here last October, but was fifth in the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes on the hillside turf course on Jan. 2, a race that did not suit the 4-year-old filly trainer Simon Callaghan said.

“She didn’t really like the down the hill” distance, Callaghan said.

He is hoping for a quick pace in the Buena Vista.

“Hopefully, they’ll be speed,” he said.

The Buena Vista is the first start in California for Strawberrydaiquiri, the winner of the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2010 who was third in a Group 1 in England last fall. A 6-year-old mare, Strawberrydaiquiri joined trainer Ben Cecil’s stable last fall.

“She’s been training well enough,” Cecil said. “I like the way she’s training. I wouldn’t say she’s 100 percent. She had a good blow after her last piece of work.”

Cecil also starts the stakes-placed So Belle and Andina in the Buena Vista.