by Dustin Fabian
May 21, 2020
It’s great to have Santa Anita back on our Track List and we’re excited for a phenomenal weekend of racing there, including five graded stakes races between Saturday and Monday.
Saturday’s slate features the G2 Charles Whittingham Stakes, starring Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up United, and the G3 Daytona Stakes for turf sprinters, showcasing five horses that have already won this year sprinting on the lawn.
And Monday’s card is arguably even better, headlined by the G1 Shoemaker Mile. The field for that race is expected to include multiple horses for Mark Casse – War of Will and March to the Arch – and multiple horses for Chad Brown – Without Parole and Raging Bull – as well as top local horses River Boyne and True Valour. Plus, Monday’s card also features the G1 Gamely Stakes and G2 Monrovia Stakes, both on the turf.
We’re getting in on the action by offering a 1 Million Point Exacta Split every day that Santa Anita races this weekend – Friday through Monday. Hit Exacta bets ($2 base minimum) on four different races in a given day to win your share of that day’s split.
For more picks throughout the weekend, check out Jeff Siegel's Analysis, Wagering Strategies and Workout Report, available each day for Santa Anita races. Reports are available around 1PM ET daily.
Since Saturday’s entries are already out, here’s my take on their Late Pick 4. Good luck to everyone playing and have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!
Race 6 – Claiming – 6F on Dirt
The kickoff leg of the Late Pick 4 is a $12,500 claiming race and none of these horses really jump off the page. #1 MIDNIGHT GARDEN (7/2) won at first asking against low-level maiden claimers, but ends up stuck with an inside draw here, as opposed to the outside post she had last time. We’ll find out how she feels about racing inside and behind horses. #2 SYBIL’S KITTY (7/2) was really disappointing as the favorite in a similar race here on March 15. Her races in October and December would probably win this for fun, but she’s headed in a negative direction. And #3 REAL GOOD DEAL (5/2) is probably the likeliest winner, attracting Flavien Prat for the Leonard Powell barn.
Race 7 – Starter Optional Claiming – 5 1/2 F on Dirt
Many factors line up here for #7 LOVELY LILIA (5/2) as she returns to California off an OK effort at Oaklawn. Those Oaklawn races were loaded with talent and I love that she raced in April, as that might mean she is fitter than a number of her opponents. You have to think they’ll send and hope to never look back. #1 SUGAR PICKEL (6/1) gets back to the dirt off two decent turf tries at this level on the lawn. Her lone dirt race was a win at Los Al and, if anything, it’s notable that Abel Cedillo, who has ridden both LOVELY LILIA and SUGAR PICKEL in the past, opts to ride here.
Race 8 – Charles Whittingham S. (G2) – 1 1/4 Miles on Turf
It’s not easy to knock #5 UNITED (6/5) as he goes out for a Hall of Fame trainer (Richard Mandella) with the track’s top rider (Flavien Prat) in the irons. This horse took some time to come around, but he has won or placed in five of his last six races with Prat in the saddle, including a win in the G2 San Marcos last out on this course and at this distance. He is just versatile enough to sit closer to the pace in what appears to be a paceless event. The only one that I could see threatening him on his best day is Chad Brown’s #7 ROCKEMPEROR (5/2). I was encouraged by his third-place finish in the G2 Mervin Muniz last out at the Fair Grounds as he closed from far back to finish third on a course that favored speed.
My colleague, Jeremy Plonk, analyzed this race as our Xpressbet Race of the Week. Check out his analysis, which features a heavy dose of United.
Race 9 – Maiden Claiming – 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt
The good news is, if we start this Late Pick 4 going 3x2x2 we have some room in the holster for the last. First and foremost, in races like this starring a host of horses that haven’t won, I’m almost always going to include the first time starters, so #7 MONGOLIAN WIND (12/1) and #11 BEAUMONT BEAUX (since scratched) make the cut, despite going out for relatively low-percentage local barns. Let’s also add #2 VODKA TWIST (5/1), who adds blinkers and drops in class from tougher turf races, as well as #9 DR. HOFFMAN (7/2) (Flavien Prat) and #12 SLAAH (3/1) (Risopoli), who get upgrades to top jocks. Finally, I’ll use #4 MY JOURNEY (4/1), who might kick away from this field if nobody runs with him early.
Race 6: 1, 2, 3
Race 7: 1, 7
Race 8: 5, 7
Race 9: 2, 4, 7, 9, 12
Ticket Cost: $30 for 50-cents
If we hit, it won’t be a home run but it should be enough to keep you playing. And if you don’t believe in Rockemperor, you can always single United and play the ticket for a dollar at the same $36 cost.