A pair of “Win and You’re In” challenge series events will be contested at Santa Anita on Sunday. Fillies and mares looking for a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) will contest the $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (G2), while five will go postward in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2), where there is an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at stake.
Race 4 – Zenyatta Stakes
#1 Fighting Mad (2-5) looms a menacing figure in the Zenyatta for Bob Baffert. Lightly raced daughter of New Year’s Day has shown big improvement since stretching out to route racing, with tallies in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1) and Santa Maria (G2) in her last pair of assignments.
The 4-year-old filly is the pace of the race and will be tough to upend if she runs her best beneath Luis Saez.
#5 Hard Not to Love (3-1) never fired in the Hirsch in her first try at Del Mar, but the Shirreffs charge is a proven commodity at Santa Anita, and I fully expect the Hard Spun filly to make the favorite earn it on Sunday. Grade 1 heroine sports an 8-5-2-1 local line, and we might get a hint of value with her coming off a poor showing most recently.
- $30 Exacta: 1 with 5 ($30)
- $10 Exacta: 5 with 1 ($10)
Race 8 – Santa Anita Sprint Championship
An excellent field of five will travel 6 furlongs in the Sprint Championship. If Victor Espinoza sends #3 Flagstaff (5-2) to the lead from the break, then I believe that the Speightstown gelding will be tough to pass in the lane for Sadler. I loved both his latest prep race and recent morning drills as well.
The sophomore #1 Collusion Illusion (9-5) is 5-for-6 lifetime and earned his first top-level score with a rallying win in the Bing Crosby (G1) most recently. Twirling Candy colt continues to improve for Glatt, and his powerful late kick will see him move into contention late from the rail. Regular jock Flavien Prat stays in the silks.
Sprint Championship Wagers
- $20 Win: #3 Flagstaff ($20)
- $5 Trifecta: 3 with 1 with all ($15)