Six stakes races are on tap during opening day at Santa Anita on Saturday. Taking down the early Pick 3, prior to the big events, is a great way to get things started.
Race 1 — Allowance (2 p.m. ET)
Fillies and mares will travel nine panels on the lawn in the opener. In a field lacking a standout and overall class, I feel compelled to use a few in the first leg. Maiden winners #5 Cover Version (15-1) and #8 Rocking Redhead (6-1), as well as Group-3 placed #10 Hermaphrodite (3-1) and top pick #11 Shanghai Truffles (4-1), make the ticket.
Race 2 — Maiden Special Weight (2:32 p.m. EDT)
A solid field of juvenile prospects will go seven-eighths on the dirt. #2 Affable (8-5) is the one to beat for conditioner Mark Glatt. $600,000 Flatter colt was a sharp runner-up on debut at Del Mar, and the Florida-bred has trained well in the interim in preparation of his local unveiling. He gets top billing of the youngsters that have a start under their belts.
I’ll also include a pair of debuting juveniles with #4 Sir Flatter (6-1) and #5 Deservedly (6-1). It would be little surprise to see either fire big at first go.
Race 3 — Claiming (3:04 p.m. EDT)
A mile dirt event for 3-year-olds attracted a field of nine, and I will use two to conclude my play. #1 Defense Wins (5-2) takes a huge class plunge on the turf-to-dirt move for O’Neill. Flatter gelding will be tough to stop if he repeats his maiden win on the surface two prior.
#2 Hapi Hapi (3-1) has been vastly improved since being claimed three back by Peter Eurton. Chestnut son of Clubhouse Ride comes in off of a good runner-up showing at this level at Del Mar most recently. The California-bred has the best chance to upend the morning-line choice.
$1 Pick 3: 5,8,10,11 with 2,4,5 with 1,2 ($24)