How to bet the 2024 Astra Stakes
Seven fillies and mares will stride 1 1/2 miles on the Santa Anita turf in Sunday’s feature, the $100,000 Astra S. A trio of the contenders in the cast are conditioned by Phil D’Amato, who has endured a lot of success in the turf stakes races in California in recent years, and I believe that he will saddle the winner of this affair, too.
#3 Lakota Spirit rallied to finish a clear second in the Robert J. Frankel S. (G3) on the surface in her most recent outing, and I expect the five-year-old to move forward on the stretch-out to 12 furlongs in this one. The D’Amato pupil has been first or second in each of her quartet of races since joining this outfit, and the daughter of Curlin gives the impression of a mare who will thrive with the additional ground with which to work with.
The Kentucky-bred bay faces a solid cast but has very good form, and her running style seems ideal to stalk the early tempo and pounce on the early leaders turning for home. Local standout Juan Hernandez retains the ride atop the leading selection.
Defending champ #5 Duvet Day has run especially well in each of her pair of assignments at 1 1/2 miles in advance of Sunday. Trained by Mike McCarthy, the Irish-bred bay didn’t show her usual strong late kick in the San Juan Capistrano S. (G3) at 1 3/4 miles in her latest effort in June, but she will be better against this cast while coming in fresh. The Starspangledbanner mare lands in a field with numerous early types, so the late runner will benefit from an honest pace to the top of the lane with Kazushi Kimura taking the reins.
D’Amato’s #2 Leisurewear is intriguing as she tries a marathon distance for the first time. The Kodiac six-year-old didn’t show much in her latest performance in the summer, but she did display good form prior to that, and the mare also appears to be training well leading up to this tussle. She will be forwardly placed from the break under the guidance of Flavien Prat.