Santa Anita Derby Historical as It Gets

  On Saturday, April 6, some of the best three-year-olds in the nation will head to the Great Race Place, Santa Anita Park, for the Santa Anita Derby. Traditionally one of the top three-year-old prep races for the Kentucky Derby, the Santa Anita Derby is one of the SoCal racetracks most historical events. Year to year, it draws massive crowds and eager horseplayers looking to cash out on the budding superstar three-year-olds. Last year, Justify won the Santa Anita Derby [...]

Closing Day Spot Plays at Santa Anita Park

Sunday is Closing Day at Santa Anita Park and that means mandatory payouts in all pools. The Pick 6 will get the most attention by far given the three-day $821,858 carryover, but the early Pick 5 is always an attractive option with the low 14% takeout rate. With horizontal wagering opportunities throughout the card it is imperative to find a few potential singles, even if they are favorites. Here are a pair of short priced horses and a couple of [...]

How to Bet the Beholder Mile

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Saturday’s feature at Santa Anita Park is the $400,000 Grade 1 Beholder Mile.The race named for the star Richard Mandella trainee only drew a field of six, but it does not lack star power given the presence of Unique Bella, Vale Dori and Paradise Woods. Don Alberto Stable’s #6 Unique Bella makes her first start since a poor break led to a disappointing second place effort [...]

How to Bet the Gold Cup at Santa Anita

City of Light winning the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) -© BENOIT PHOTO Santa Anita Park takes center stage on Saturday afternoon as “The Great Race Place” offers racing fans three graded stakes events headlined by the $500,000 Grade 1 Gold Cup. The fifth race on the nine-race card concludes the early Pick 5, and gets the late sequence started making it an extremely important race for horizontal players. Here are my thoughts: The mile and a quarter distance [...]

Horses to Consider for Thursday’s Pick 6 Carryover at Santa Anita

A challenging set of results to conclude the action at Santa Anita Park on Sunday led to a Pick 6 carryover of $63,301 heading into Thursday afternoon. The eight-race card features four maiden events, including a pair of $40,000 maiden claimers down the hill. The six-race sequence begins in Race 3 at approximately 1:30 PM local time.  Despite a number of small fields there should be at least a couple of opportunities to differentiate from the public. Most likely winner [...]

Late Pick 4 Analysis for Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park

As usual a late Pick 4 that commences in Race 7 caps off Saturday’s ten-race card at Santa Anita Park. The four-race sequence begins with a starter allowance sprint, includes the featured Grade 2 San Luis Rey, and concludes in Race 10 with a bottom level conditional claimer over the main track. Here are my thoughts on the four races that end Saturday’s card: Race 7 This starter allowance event for runners that have yet to win twice goes through [...]

How to Bet the Grade 1 Santa Margarita

Mopotism (left) scores a narrow victory in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo The Santa Margarita Stakes lost its star attraction when champion Unique Bella defected from the first Grade 1 race of the year for older females in favor of the second--the Apple Blossom on April 14th at Oaklawn-- because of missed training. The absence of Unique Bella might have taken star power away from the $400,000 race on Saturday [...]

Evaluating shippers coming into Southern California

Assessing the chances of horses shipping into the west coast from out of town can often be the difference between a big score and a losing day in Southern California. Whether it be Arizona based horses shipping in for low level claiming events or East Coast based stars flying in for a graded stakes race, having a method for analyzing these “out of towners” chances of winning races is extremely important. Here are a few questions I ask myself each [...]

Spot Plays for Big ‘Cap Day at Santa Anita Park

Beautiful Santa Anita Park has a star-studded 11-race card on tap for Saturday afternoon headlined by the battle between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro in the Grade 2 San Felipe. There are plenty of opportunities to make money throughout the card that starts at 12 PM local time, but here are a couple of spot plays I will be getting involved in at “The Great Race Place.” Race 3 The third offers horseplayers an extremely challenging optional claimer run at a [...]

An Early Preview of Next Month’s San Felipe Stakes

Solomini (outside) rallies past McKinzie (inside) and Instilled Regard (middle) in the Los Alamitos Futurity(©Benoit Photo) The San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park is not until March 10th, but the two-turn event for three-year-olds is shaping up to be the race of the winter in Southern California. The mile and a sixteenth affair conducted over the main track appears likely to attract three of the top five colts on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard as [...]