Four excellent graded stakes races will be hosted by Santa Anita on Saturday. The fields for each marquee event are stacked with abundantly talented horses, and I expect each race to be both thrilling and competitive.
Here is my analysis:
Santa Anita H. (G1)
A strong field of eight will run in the 1 1/4-mile contest led by defending champ #4 Gift Box (6-5). But I was quite impressed by #5 Midcourt (2-1) in his San Pasqual (G2) romp and will come right back with the gelding.
Midnight Lute 6-year-old earned a hefty 113 BRIS Late Pace number going nine furlongs, and the added ground might actually be a benefit for the Shirreffs trainee. Lightly-raced sort has room to improve with only nine lifetime races to his credit.
#8 Endorsed (6-1) has always been long on talent and I love the aggressive move to ship the Medaglia d’Oro colt in for the historic contest. He is my choice to complete the exacta for McLaughlin.
Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1)
Grade 1 heroine #3 Got Stormy (5-2) ships west to make her second start of the season for Mark Casse. Standout mare faltered at short odds at Tampa Bay in her seasonal bow, but she was second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on this course in November and her connections wouldn’t be sending her to this spot if she was not close to 100%. She has a tactical edge on the slew of late runners in the field, too.
#2 River Boyne (3-1) snapped an eight-race losing streak with a convincing score in the Thunder Road (G3) most recently, and he will be a major factor with a forward move off of that performance. #10 Desert Stone (10-1) went last-to-first in the San Gabriel (G2) on the strip, and the Baltas pupil is the type to rally late and grab a share at a price. I will use this duo underneath the favorite.
San Felipe (G2)
The Road to the Kentucky Derby contest attracted just seven 3-year-olds, but this could be the deepest prep to date despite the number of runners going postward. Trainer Bob Baffert has the pair of morning-line favorites, and I will give a slight edge to #5 Thousand Words (9-5).
$1 million son of Pioneerof the Nile is unblemished from a trio of lifetime races, and while he often leaves it late, the colt has delivered on each occasion to this point. The stout Florida-bred could get a great pace setup with the speed of the field drawn to his inside, as well. And it’s surely worth noting that Prat gets off the reigning juvenile champ to retain the mount atop Thousand Words.
San Carlos (G2)
The pace of the 7-furlong dash figures to be lively, and I think the winner will come from off the tempo. #1 Manhattan Up (6-1) had a solid sophomore campaign and appears to be moving forward from two performances in 2020. Street Boss colt is training well as of late and could peak third time off the shelf.