On Wall Street, the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day is called the summer doldrums. Traders might be slacking in the Hamptons, but horse racing sizzles during the summer months. Santa Anita is the hottest place for horseplayers this weekend with a trifecta of stakes races with at least $100,000 in prize money.
Santa Anita Horse Racing Picks
SNOW CHIEF STAKES
A field of nine California bred or sired three-year-olds will run 1 1/8 miles on the most beautiful track on Earth’s turf course. It’s a fair distance as winners split nearly 50/50 between early speed and stalkers/closers. Post position doesn’t offer any edges either. Put plainly, the best horse should win.
Picks to Win:
NONE ABOVE THE LAW (PP: 2 ML 9/5) ran the highest, last race speed figure and is the only score from this crew above the average winner at this level. He’s only tried grass a couple of times with a win and an off the board outing. Matching his last on Golden Gate grass would probably be enough to get it done here.
BIG TALKER (PP: 4 ML 4-1) missed against a few of these in his first start following a short rest. He didn’t have the space to get to the leaders. A cleaner trip and improvement in his second start off the bench could be enough to get to the leaders this time.
FERRARIANO (PP: 3 ML 4-1) just won his first race in four tries last out. It was his best race with one of some of the best late pace numbers in this pack. Since moving to turf, he’s put up three quality starts, all at Santa Anita.
CARGO (PP: 8 ML 8-1) raced on turf in three of his four starts. He gained ground late in all of them. He backed up fast in the lone dirt start. He should be in good form following 14 furlongs in workouts since his last start on May 14th.
WIN: #2 NONE ABOVE THE LAW
EXACTA: #2 NONE ABOVE THE LAW to win with #3 FERRARIANO, #4 BIG TALKER or #8 CARGO to finish second.
Another group of eight California bred or sired horses will battle it out for 1 1/16 miles on Santa Anita’s main track. The distance and surface favored speed in the first 27 races at the distance during the current meet, especially the inside three post positions.
Picks to Win:
PAWNEE (PP: 1 ML 5-1) has run at Santa Anita four times with two wins and a second. He ran runner-up last out as the public’s choice. Trainer Thomas Bell, II hits in one of three with beaten favorites the next time around the track.
FI FI PHAROAH (PP: 3 ML 5/2) took four races to win her first. She was close to the front all the way around the track, which is the way to win at the distance/surface. It was her first route and it looks like she prefers longer races.
I’M SO ANNA (PP: 5 ML 4-1) won her last at Golden Gate in a wire-to-wire effort. That was on Golden Gate’s all-weather track. She’s worked well since, putting in 16 furlongs, including three fast training sessions. She should be ready to fire again.
EDDIE’S NEW DREAM (PP: 6 ML 3-1) has four quality starts in four races. She made her three-year-old debut in her last, following an extended time on the sidelines. Her resume says she could be considerably better in her round two off the bench.
WIN: #1 PAWNEE
EXACTA BOX: #1 PAWNEE, #3 FI FI PHAROAH, #5 I’M SO ANNA and #6 EDDIE’S NEW DREAM
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO STAKES
It’s an unusual race. It starts off downhill, makes a fairly sharp right-hand turn, then into a sweeping turn left, crosses over dirt before two-turns on the turf course. Seven of 13 winners at the odd layout were labeled early speed and horses on the inside and outside appear to have an advantage over the middle posts.
Picks to Win:
RED KING (PP: 2 ML 5/2) will be making his second start following a short rest. His recent resume says he’ll run a better race in round two off the bench. He is the defending champion. So, you know he can handle the distance and quirky layout.
WARD ‘N JERRY (PP: 3 L 5/2) is on a two-race win streak and finished third in this spot last year. He’s been a beast at Santa Anita with six wins, a second and third in 16 starts. He has just two trips to the winners’ circle in 11 runs elsewhere.
ACCLIMATE (PP: 4 ML 9/5) won this race in 2019, taking the lead from the jump and never saw the backside of another horse. It was his only try at the twisty, turny, downhill marathon. He spent most of 2020 in the barn and only has one win in the 10 races since taking the 2019 San Juan hardware.
ASTRONAUT (PP: 6 ML 8-1) had a terrible debut on dirt and then ran on the turf for the next six races, putting a quality start on paper for each of them. In 2021, he’s a ½ length, a nose and length from being undefeated in four.
WIN: #3 WARD ‘N JERRY
EXACTA BOX: #2 RED KING, #3 WARD ‘N JERRY, #4 ACCLIMATE and #6 ASTRONAUT
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