How to bet the 2023 Santa Anita Handicap

March 4th, 2023

A big field of 11 will go postward in the feature at Santa Anita on Saturday, the $500,000 Santa Anita H. (G1). It's a well-matched field in the historic 1 1/4-mile contest, and it looks like a very competitive betting endeavor on paper. 

Clark S. (G1) victor #11 Proxy will have to be at his best to take this field down from the widest post, but I think the Godolphin homebred will be up to the task while making his local debut. Trained by Mike Stidham, the well-bred son of Tapit has been consistently good in his 14-race career and is lightly raced enough to have improvement in him. 

The five-year-old endured a tough voyage in the recent Pegasus World Cup (G1) when checking in fifth, and I believe that he will benefit from getting off of the rail on Saturday. The strong late runner has registered triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace figures in four straight, which indicates to me that he will thrive at the 10-furlong trip. John Velazquez taking the reins is another reason for optimism. 

#5 Defunded had no chance with the winner in the Pegasus, but the Baffert pupil ran well while runner-up at Gulfstream Park last time out. The gelded son of Dialed In bagged the Awesome Again S. (G1) here in October, and in his lone run at 1 1/4 miles, the five-year-old was second-best in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) on the surface last spring. Speedy sort will be in the running from the opening bell with Juan Hernandez inheriting the ride. 

I’ve long liked #4 Stilleto Boy and will always include him in these types of races for trainer Ed Moger. Shackleford five-year-old stayed on for third in the recent Pegasus, and has won or placed in all but one try on the Santa Anita strip in his lifetime. The Kentucky-bred chestnut has a versatile running style and I envision him staying on for a piece late with Kent Desormeaux picking up the mount. 

#6 Warrant just missed in the heat last season for conditioner Brad Cox, and the chestnut must be respected on this occasion. The five-year-old chestnut came off the bench to post a fine allowance win at Fair Grounds in his seasonal bow and will likely move forward second time back. Flavien Prat will be in the stirrups. 

Santa Anita Handicap Wagers

  • $15 win and place #11 Proxy ($30)
  • $5 exacta key box 11 with 4,5,6 ($30)