In a thrilling stretch battle, Kentucky-bred Going to Vegas held off a late bid from stablemate Luck to win the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Oct. 2.

With Umberto Rispoli in the irons, Going to Vegas led from start to finish in the 1 ¼-mile turf affair. Never seriously challenged through fractions of :24.35, :48.72, and 1:13.49, Going to Vegas kept finding on the front end when she was asked to kick at the head of the lane. Luck made it interesting late but failed to catch the pacesetter who held on to score by a head. Going to Vegas covered the marathon distance in 1:58.84, and with the victory earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 6.

“I was busy because I could feel Flavien (Prat) was coming,” said Rispoli. “I knew he was coming fast, but we handled it pretty well. I’m happy that they decided to get me back on the filly. She’s a grade one winner now. The next step is a Breeders’ Cup.”

Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC, Medallion Racing, and, Going to Vegas is a 4-year-old filly by Goldencents out of the Johannesburg mare Hard to Resist. She was bred in the Bluegrass by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, and she is trained by Richard Baltas. It was the third graded stakes victory for Going to Vegas and her earnings now stand at $634,151.