Santa Ana Stakes 2021 Preview: Red Lark (IRE) Can Eclipse the Competition

This contest offers a nice field of 8 going deep on the turf at 'The Great Race Place.' Take a look at who J.N. Campbell likes in this installment of the Grade III Santa Ana Stakes.
This contest offers a nice field of 8 going deep on the turf at "The Great Race Place." Take a look at who J.N. Campbell likes in this installment of the Grade III Santa Ana Stakes.

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Plenty of attention this Saturday over at Gulfstream and at Turfway Park but the one-and-a-quarter mile Santa Ana Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita also has plenty of intrigue.

Our turf-man previews the race on the downhill turf with our Race Pick and his analysis below...

The finale on the Saturday card at Santa Anita is a deep route that begins halfway up the famed Hillside Turf Course. Running a 1 ¼ on the grass in Race 9, the Grade III 100k Santa Ana Stakes will test a horse’s late turn-of-foot and their jockey’s level of patience. Just as a matter of interest, you might want to watch Race 7, and see how that field responds to the ground. It could be educational before the “Feature” arrives.

Most of the cash in this pool will head to Tim Yakteen’s Mucho Unusual #1, and it makes perfect sense that she would be the M/L favorite at 8/5. That probably classifies the mare as “deserving.” I want to use her for sure, but she is not my top pick. I question whether she can handle this stretch out, and that might be a weakness. I know playing against Flavien Prat might be folly, but I am willing to take a swing.

For my money, when I see Eclipse Thoroughbreds and their light blue and black silks, it reminds me of all the great turf horses they have owned over the years. Red Lark (IRE) #5 just needs the proper spot to run in because Paddy Gallagher has her headed in the right direction. You might question that when you look at the way she has finished in both the American Oaks (G1) and Buena Vista (G2). Mind you, those were elite SoCal turf races, and dropping down to a Grade III might be the ticket. Ricardo Gonzalez is rather unheralded, and his turf abilities are fairly steady.

Using these 2 runners makes sense, and let’s also use one of Richard Baltas’ entries (he has 2)—Going to Vegas #3. This 4-yr-old filly out of Goldencents was in both of those contests that I just mentioned. She clearly has ability, and a number of late gears. I would be remiss if we left her out because she looks extremely talented with Umberto Rispoli in the saddle. His turf route riding is relaxed and fluid, and I like watching him navigate the sod.

To make a wager… let’s try a Tri… We can wheel in some other entries just to ensure that any long shots do not spoil the party. Plus, that covers us if they do. All to the good… Enjoy this contest on what looks to be a great day from “The Great Race Place!”

WAGER RECOMMENDATION… Trifecta Wheel: 1/3/5 w 1/3/5 w 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8

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