A compact field of five will travel 7 furlongs at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Santa Monica (G2) on Saturday. The race is led by a budding superstar who might just be scratching the surface of her abilities.

Analysis

#1 Road Rager has speed and will be sent from the rail for Koriner. #2 Lady Ninja, despite removing the blinkers, will be forwardly placed and is expected to force the pace under Cedillo. #5 Mother Mother and #4 Hard Not to Like will track with intent from the next flight, with #2 Zusha trailing early on behind a moderate tempo.

Contenders

#1 ROAD RAGER (30-1) — Quality Road filly cuts back after going a route of ground against lesser most recently. Speedy sort will be involved from the start, but she is still eligible for a first-level allowance race and would be a surprise. Aaron Gryder will be in the stirrups.

#2 ZUSHA (12-1) — Congrats mare shows placings in the Bayakoa (G3) and La Canada (G3) in her prior two assignments. Gary Mandella trainee has never been better and rates as an exotics player under Tiago.

#3 LADY NINJA (2-1) — Baltas pupil led to late stretch before finishing a solid second in the Kalookan Queen S. on the surface in her 2020 debut. Majesticperfection mare removes the hood for the dash, and the six-time local heroine is the main danger to the favorite today.

#4 HARD NOT TO LOVE (6-5) — La Brea (G1) queen is 4-for-5 lifetime, all on this strip, and is the clear one to beat for Shirreffs. Lightly raced Ontario-bred has class, versatility, and room for improvement as a formidable foe. Mike Smith retains the riding duties.

#5 MOTHER MOTHER (8-5) — Baffert trainee is a two-time stakes vixen who gets a fine draw outside of the small field. Daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is consistently very good, and she enters with a bullet morning drill on the surface most recently. Flavien Prat picks up the live mount.

Wager

$30 Exacta: 4 with 3 ($30)