09/25/2013 4:38PM

Santa Anita: Topic to get Breeders' Cup test in Rodeo Drive Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Topic, winner of the CTT and TOC Handicap at Del Mar, will run in Saturday's Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Topic, the 3-year-old stakes-winning filly trained by Neil Drysdale, grew up quickly over the summer.

The winner of a maiden race at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, Topic was third in the Grade 1 American Oaks in her stakes debut there in July before beating older fillies and mares in the CTT and TOC Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 23.

Saturday, Topic starts in the $250,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes against older fillies and mares at Santa Anita, a race that will determine how Drysdale, along with owners Alice Bamford and Anthony Speelman, plan her campaign this fall.

A win, or competitive race, could lead to a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 1, although Drysdale said Wednesday he is focused on Saturday’s race.

“The race is very tough and a prep for the Breeders’ Cup,” Drysdale said. “We thought we’ll see how she shapes up. We’ll see how she fits.”

Topic will get a stern test in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive, run at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The race is led by Tiz Flirtatious, winner of the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes at Del Mar in August, and Marketing Mix, who won the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park in May.

The Rodeo Drive is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering the winner a fees-paid berth to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 2. There are four other Grade 1, $250,000 stakes on Saturday’s program that are part of the Win and You’re In program.

The winner of the Awesome Again Stakes will receive a berth in the $5 million BC Classic on Nov. 2. Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Awesome Again drew a field of 10 led by Mucho Macho Man, second in the 2012 BC Classic; You Know I Know, third in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 25; and Paynter, winner of the 2012 Haskell Invitational who has made a remarkable recovery from colitis and laminitis in the last year.

She’s a Tiger, winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1, drew the outside post in the Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. The winner receives a fees-paid berth to the $2 million BC Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 1.

Trained by Jeff Bonde, She’s a Tiger has seven rivals in the Chandelier, a field that includes Debutante runner-up Fascinating; the Del Mar maiden race winners Antiquity and Belle of the Fleet; and Awesome Baby, seventh in the Debutante as the even-money favorite.

The largest field in Saturday’s Grade 1 races is in the FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds, which drew 11. The winner receives a fees-paid berth to the $2 million BC Juvenile on Nov. 2.

Tamarando, winner of the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4, makes his first start around two turns in the race at 1 1/16 miles. Tamarando, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, has two familiar rivals in the FrontRunner in Dance With Fate and Can the Man, who were second and third, respectively, in the Del Mar Futurity.

There will be support for Schoolofhardrocks, a sharp maiden race winner in his debut at a mile at Del Mar on Aug. 31; and Roundupthelute, who won the C.B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Barretts Racing on Sept. 11.

The day’s top race for females on the main track is the Zenyatta Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Include Me Out and Joyful Victory, second and third in the 2012 Zenyatta, are part of a field of eight. Beholder, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, is the only 3-year-old in the field, facing older females for the first time.

The race winner receives a fees-paid berth to the $2 million BC Distaff on Nov. 1.