Hitting The All-Stakes Pick 3 At Santa Anita On Opening Day
Racing returns with a bang to Santa Anita on Friday, October 1st for its 16-day Autumn meet. Besides having it's historic hillside turf course reopen, Santa Anita will have a monster weekend of 14 stakes races. Nine of those stakes races are Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifiers. These are crucial races as Breeders' Cup day is only a month away! In this article, I am going to focus on a winning combination for us to hit an All-Stakes pick 3 in races 6-7-8! I will also be posting more plays for all of Santa Anita's opening day card in our Discord channel!
(G2) $200,000 Chandelier Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, 2YO fillies
The grade II Chandelier Stakes looks pretty cut and dry, at least on top. Being that these are two year old's, anything is possible, but Bob Baffert has a horse here that looks incredibly tough to beat. Grace Adler is the 9/5 morning line favorite that had no problem winning her five furlong debut and followed that up by posting a monster 11-1/2 length win at 7 furlongs. As a daughter within the Curlin bloodline, distance will only help. You can confidently single Grace Adler on your tickets. Looking to complete exactas or more, I have a lot of interest in Desert Dawn at 15/1 odds. This gal looked fantastic going a mile last time out, winning by over four lengths. There is so much speed signed up in this race that a pace meltdown will only help Desert Dawn climb into minor awards, as she is a true closer and we know distance is not an issue. If we notice speed is carrying, Desert Dawn would need to be downgraded. Some of the speedsters listed only have one race under their belt, so take that with a grain of salt as there is not an actual history for some of these babies.
(G2) $200,000 Eddie D. Stakes, 6 1/2 furlongs, turf, 3+yo
For the first time in 2 years, the hillside turf course will reopen. This turf course is a unique North American turf course with European homage. This course was shut down due to the overwhelming amount of injuries horses faced. As you can see in the image below, horses angle downhill and turn slightly before hitting the wide turn. They cross over a dirt patch from the main course, before finishing on the lawn down the stretch.
This course favors horses that have tactical speed and a strong late kick. I like to target horses that are cutting back in distance and dropping in class. The horse I can't seem to get away from is Charmaine's Mia at 10/1 odds. I'm tossing the last two efforts as I don't think this horse should be running in grade I races and the jockey change. Charmaine's Mia gets Flavien Prat back, drops in class, cuts back in distance and I think 10/1 is more than generous. Snapper Sinclair meets my criteria, but I don't fully trust this horse as a turf horse yet. Snapper Sinclair has 2 wins on turf out of 7 tries, but both of those came with Julien Leparoux aboard. My opinion is that Julien won those races and since he is not the pilot for this race, I am tossing Snapper Sinclair. I would instead pivot to horses such as Gregorian Chant, Law Abidin Citizen, Chaos Theory and Lieutenant Dan.
(G1) $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, 2YO
The main event for Friday's card is the American Pharoah Stakes for two-year-olds. Anyone that knows me, knows my disgust at handicapping lightly raced babies. You can look at workouts, but those don't always translate to 'the real thing.' You can look at their previous race(s), if they have any. Pedigree, trainer and jockey all also come into play. Basically nothing is considered too crazy when looking to find the winner in a race like this. In this qualifier, the winner will get a spot in the Breeders Cup Juvenile in November. Bob Baffert sends THREE horses in this race. Most eyes, mine included, will gravitate towards Corniche at 6/5 odds. This colt won his debut 5-1/2 furlong race by 4 lengths. The way he drew off suggests he could go further, but how much? It's always risky to single a horse that's never tried two-turns but on the other side of the coin, the money is diluted by spreading. I am hyperfocused on Oviatt Class at 3/1 odds. I am not a Desormeaux fan by any means, especially when using one of his horses against three Bafferts, but it is encouraging to see this horse working the system. Starting off on turf, we quickly found out that Oviatt Class would excel on dirt. In his second start, he grabbed 3rd in a 6 furlong race. It was clear that this horse wanted to stretch out. In his third start, Oviatt Class went 1M on the dirt, beating out a Baffert horse we see lining up today. I put a lot of stock in Oviatt Class as the only horse that has won a race at two turns in this race. The smart play here is to use Oviatt Class with Corniche and Rockefeller
My Pick 3:
Race 6 - 4
Race 7 - 1,4,5,6,7
Race 8 - 1,4,6