Santa Anita Park: All-Stakes Selections for Saturday March 5
Santa Anita Park Picks - Saturday, March 5, 2022
Race 1: 11-4-8-1
Race 2: 5-2-4-6
Race 3: 8-5-1-4
Race 4: 4-1-9-3
Race 5: 8-10-5-11
Race 6: 6-3-7-5
Race 7: 5-1-6-9
Race 8: 9-11-6-8
Race 9: 5-2-1-6
Race 10: 8-4-3-2
Race 11: 3-6-8-1
**Most Likely Winner: Warrant #3 (Race 11)**
**Best Value: Canoodling #8 (Race 5)**
Weather can play a major factor in horse racing, and even sunny Santa Anita Park is not immune from it! The threat of rain cancelled racing on Friday, and that card was moved to Monday. However, we are still "on" for what is shaping up to be a Super Saturday.
One of the "features" is a Kentucky Derby Points race with 50-20-10-5 on the line--Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes! Also, included are several stellar turf races, the Beholder Mile, and of course, the Santa Anita Handicap ... nothing like the history and pagentry of the "Big 'Cap!"
At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including the 11-race card from what is known as "The Great Race Place." It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned!
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Saturday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below. Do not forget to follow us on Twitter ... @Horseracing_USA ...
ALL-STAKES PICKS FOR SANTA ANITA SATURDAY …
(Race 4: Dirt, 7F, San Carlos S. (G2), $200k, 4+)
Last year in this race, it was Craig Lewis’ Brickyard Ride #1 that wired the field in style … the now-5-yr-old horse by Clubhouse Ride is back again to defend his title. He hasn’t won a “G” stakes race since, but he comes in with some sharp form after a pair of scores in state bred “Non-Gs.” I would probably pick this runner on top were not for the presence of Bob Baffert’s Cezanne #4. Here is a son of Curlin with potential for victory based on his ability to stalk the pace. Baffert turns to Flavien Prat once again, and I do not see really anyone that can rival him if he is on his game. His last 3 training runs look rather monstrous, and you can bet he is going to be cranked up for this one. One other entry though that does look promising is Richard Baltas’ 2nd time out sprinter, Shooters Shoot #9. This son of Competitive Edge (who stands at Valor Farm in Texas) was a savvy claim by the veteran trainer from Peter Eurton’s midst, and the SoCal-based trainer did not waste much time entering him in the Palos Verdes (G3). With Victor Espinoza up, he actually beat Cezanne #4, finishing 2nd behind Essential Wager. I am not sure how to interpret that effort … did he outrun his odds? The play is to use all 3 of these sprinters … here is the wager!
Suggested Wager: $2 Exacta Box, 1/4/9
(Race 5: Turf, 1 Mile, Buena Vista S. (G2), $200k, F&M 4+)
The Grade 2 BV drew a hefty field of milers that will be looking to grab a solid purse. The “going” could be a little less than “firm,” depending on how much rainfall hit the course on Friday … check the conditions before betting! As for the field, it is a good bet that either Going to Vegas #10 from the barn of Richard Baltas or Tim Yakteen’s Mucho Unusual #11, will be the presumptive favorite. Both are loaded with SoCal grass experience, and they will be ridden by Flavien Prat and Johnny V, respectively … I could go on and on … professing the faith about these 2, but in actuality I am against them. Instead, I would rather spend the print extolling the virtues of B-4 Farms’ Canoodling #8. Here is a well-bred filly by Pioneerof the Nile that every handicapper and turfwriter that discusses her background, seems to get wrong. Yes, she is trained currently by Mike Puype, but the real person behind the “making” of this horse was Todd Fincher. The New Mexico-based conditioner is the one who broke her initially. B-4 Farms then decided to ship her to SoCal, and since Fincher does not regularly run there, they chose another trainer for the time being. She then returned to the “Land of Enchantment,” and ran nicely in a number of races around the region for Fincher. The owners then chose to try her once again out West, and that is when she went to Mike Puype for the La Brea (G1). Switching to the turf last time, she was spectacular at a huge price in the Megahertz (G2). Her ability to control the fractions up front in a race has always been her greatest strength. Fincher, a former jockey himself, taught her to break fast … very fast. Coming into this next step, she is going to be a massive price once again, and has the ability to win again. Mark my words, Roimes Chirinos is an up-and-coming rider with great potential. I will be betting this one to win on Saturday. What a turf prospect in this division!
Suggested Wager: $100, Win #8
(Race 6: Dirt, 1 1/16th, San Felipe S. (G2), $400k, 3 KY Derby Points 50-20-10-5)
I see this KYD148 “Points” race between 2 runners … Bob Baffert’s Armagnac #3 and Richard Mandella’s (I am not calling him Dick) Forbidden Kingdom #6. Either of these entries has the ability to win, and I think it is going to come down to inches. The former is a typical Baffert blazer that makes the front and never looks back. The HOF trainer, who is probably spending more time talking to his attorneys than to his jockeys, is going to hand the keys to another HOF-er, John Velazquez. If Mandella’s entry allows on-the-engine-type racer get away, the contest will probably be over. As for that barn’s attempt at some major Derby scrum, their son of American Pharoah was ultra-impressive last time out in the San Vicente (G2). The piloting ability of JJ Hernandez just continues to get better and better. If this colt can stretch out from 7F to 1 1/16th around 2-turns, then this race could well be his. I am going to play it that way … time to head to the window for an ice-cold Exacta! The folks at MyRacehorse … those rabid investors … will have their eyes peeled come race time!
Suggested Wager: $2 Exacta Cold, 6 w 3
(Race 9: Dirt, 1 Mile, Beholder Mile S. (G1), $500k, F&M 4+)
With the scratch of Moonlight d’Oro #2, this field dwindles to 5. The last time this race broke, it was Swiss Skydiver who shipped in, and dominated the contest. The roll of invader in ’22 will be played by a pair of mares. Miss Bigly #5 comes in from Oaklawn park, after an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Bayakoa S. back on 12 Feb. I tipped that horse that day, and was impressed with the way that Ramon Vazquez handled her for Phil D’Amato. She comes to Santa Anita in tip-top-shape, and I would expect her to be pretty tough to deal with, if her trip went off without a hitch. As for the other “shipper,” it is great to see Kenny McPeek back again (he trains Skydiver), and his entry is Envoutante #6. This class-laden mare has a number of really impressive races under her saddle … she won the Falls City (G2) at Churchill 2 x, and has competed in a trio of G1s over the past 2 years. The challenge for Johnny V is to get her moving early, and then we will see what her level of fitness is like. She has not run since Louisville, so coming to SoCal presents a bit of a question mark. McPeek’s ability to get his horses ready isn’t a debate, in general. As for the local talent, you cannot rule out the uncoupled entry of Bob Baffert. Nothing gets by this man in his backyard, and both the experienced, As Time Goes By #3, and the lightly-raced, Varda #1, look formidable. Of course, the former will get bet down to even money in the end, and maybe that’s that, when it comes to your horizontal wagers. I am taking a stand against these 2, and here is the plan when it comes to a wager …
Suggested Wager: $2 Trifecta Wheel, 5 w 1/2/6 w 1/2/6
(Race 10: Turf, 1 Mile, Frank Kilroe Mile S. (G1), $500k, 4+)
It’s time for the boys to take to the turf at Santa Anita, and it will be interesting to see how the grass is playing in the late afternoon … will there be some “give” in the ground? Time to deploy the “Going Sticks,” don’t you think? In a big field like this one, with a presumed favorite in Phil D’Amato’s Count Again #4, anything … and I mean, anything … can happen. There is no question that with Flavien Prat aboard, this gelding by Awesome Again is going to be tough to beat. But, I like so many runners in here that I cannot exactly pinpoint a winner. It happens sometimes … ‘cappers encounter ambivalence … I know, a revelation! I do like Mandella’s Subconscious #2, John Shirreffs’ Beyond Brilliant #3, and Brendan Walsh’s Space Traveller #8 (who gets import Jamie Spencer to ride!), but none of them seem like a lock to win. Instead, let’s employ a betting tactic that can work in scenarios like this one. I want to play a large Trifecta, and take the field … over Count Again #4 … over the field … What this does is save me cash on a .50 “Wheel Bet,” and I can still have a shot at a major score. There are some high-priced runners drawn-in here … should be a blast! Let’s go …
Suggested Wager: .50 Trifecta Wheel, 1/2/3/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12 w 4 w 1/2/3/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12
(Race 11: Dirt, 1¼, Santa Anita Handicap (G1), $650k, 4+)
The “Saturday” racing ends with a historic race … simply known as “The Big ‘Cap.” Dating back to the 1930s, it was really one of the 1st major stakes races outside of the Triple Crown. Designed to be run at Santa Anita as a handicap, it brings together a typical group of celebrated runners, if there is such a thing. This time around, the horse that is going to carry the most weight, literally, is John Shirreffs’ Express Train #6. He is a “deserving favorite,” and so jockey Victor Espinoza will be 124 lbs, not 118, like most. A 5-yr-old, this son of Union Rags can handle the “Classic” distance, and has the class rating to get the job done. Out of the 7 others in this spot, I am not sure anyone has his powerful kick down the lane. To say he likes this surface is a bit of an understatement (Record: 9/3-3-2 lifetime). On the M/L register, you will see that Ed Moger’s Stiletto Boy #8 comes in as the second-choice at 5/2. I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand that his class rating is strong. Running in the Awesome Again, the BC Classic, Malibu, and the Pegasus WC, warrants respect. Speaking of those that “warrant” … I like the look of Brad Cox’s shipper. This Warrant #3 returned to the track for his ’22 debut in the Louisiana S. (G3) at the Fair Grounds. He had to face his stablemate Mandaloun, and Asmussen’s Midnight Bourbon. Cox used that event as a training exercise, and now, with 3 works since, he comes to Santa Anita ready to roll. The Twin Creeks Racing folks have a great son of Constitution in their midst, and the selection by their trainer to get Flavien Prat is a stellar move. I think he wins on Saturday, giving Cox his 1st Big ‘Cap!
Suggested Wager: $2 Exacta Wheel, 3 w 6/8
Enjoy another fab Saturday trackside at “The Great Race Place!” Best of luck on another run at Santa Anita Park! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!