How to bet the 2024 San Marcos Stakes

February 2nd, 2024

A total of seven horses will travel 1 1/4 miles on the Santa Anita turf in Sunday’s $100,000 San Marcos S. (G3). I will look outside for the winner in the well-matched cast. 

San Marcos Wagers

John Sadler’s #7 Missed the Cut is a two-time winner at the distance and comes off a big runner-up effort behind a really nice horse in the San Gabriel S. (G2) at nine furlongs on this course. By Quality Road, Missed the Cut has performed well in each of his pair of tries on the green since arriving in the U.S., and I expect him to thrive at the 10-furlong trip on Sunday while lying within range throughout the contest.

Missed the Cut has posted a trio of useful morning drills leading up to his second run off the short break, and the Kentucky-bred five-year-old seems poised for a big run in the lane with Joel Rosario taking the reins.

While I feel that the distance is a bit short for Richard Mandella’s #4 Planetario, I will still use the accomplished bay in all of my exotics wagers. The six-year-old son of Il Doge bagged the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) in his 2023 finale and has trained well in the interim. This Brazilian-bred bay is a Group 1 victor at the distance and has run well on the local oval, as well. Hector Berrios will be atop the talented stayer.

The consistently good #2 Prince Abama captured the event in 2023 and will be making his first start since that coup for trainer Phil D’Amato. The six-year-old chestnut has won or placed in five of his seven local appearances to date, and the son of Tamayuz was also a nice winner the last time he raced off of the layoff. The Irish-bred six-year-old is proven at the trip, obviously, and I expect him to get the jump on the deeper closing types at the top of the lane under the guidance of Flavien Prat. 

#1 Balladeer is a Grade 2 victor on the surface and at the distance, and the George Papaprodromou pupil is controlling speed in the heat, too. The speedy son of Distorted Humor is well perched on the fence to flaunt his natural early foot, and the bay comes in fresh for his 2024 debut. The five-year-old is not especially consistent, but he will get brave if left alone for too long on the front end with Victor Espinoza in the stirrups.