Spot plays and Pick 3 for Santa Anita, including Daytona and Triple Bend Stakes

May 26th, 2023

The Grade 2 Triple Bend S. and Grade 3 Daytona S. highlight a nine-race card at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Below we offer spot plays for the above stakes plus a competitive one-mile allowance optional claimer and provide a Pick 3 ticket combining the three races.

$3 Pick 3: 4, 5 with 2, 5 with 6 ($12)

Race 6: allowance optional claimer, one mile, 3yo and up

Morning line favorite #7 Katonah (3-1) will look to rebound off a third against similar when she faces eight rivals in the sixth race at Santa Anita. The Klimt four-year-old flattened in the final furlong when running 1 1/16 miles last out and came home second to a next-out winner two back when racing at today’s distance.

The Doug O’Neill pupil can be beaten by #5 Flying Drummer (4-1), a Gun Runner colt who makes his first start in more than a year for Bob Baffert. The four-year-old was last seen romping to a 5 1/2-length victory at today’s distance back on Dec. 31, 2021, and will race on Lasix for the first time, a winning move for Baffert 38% of the time. Juan Hernandez will retain the mount and strikes at a 33% rate with routes. Flying Drummer also posted a bullet 45-second four-furlong workout on May 20.

We’ll include #4 Finneus (4-1), who failed as the favorite when facing a couple of today’s race rivals after a troubled trip in a one-mile allowance at this track April 9. The Stay Thirsty colt was beaten just a half-length two back at today’s distance while posting a 99 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest speed figure at a mile among today’s field, and may improve off the 48-day layoff here. Peter Miller is a 23% winner with beaten favorites and a 15% winner at the allowance level. Hernandez hopped off Finneus to ride Flying Drummer, but Antonio Fresu, a 14% winner this meet, will pick up the mount.

Race 7: Daytona (G3), 6 1/2 furlongs (turf), 4yo and up

#5 Whatmakessammyrun (9-5) is a logical favorite after the five-year-old got up to win by a head in the Siren Lure S. at Santa Anita on April 23 while recording a 94 BRIS figure. The gelding is now 4-for-6 at this track and 2-for-4 at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf, including a score in the Eddie D S. (G2) last October. Trainer Mark Glatt is a 21% winner this meet and a 19% winner with horses that won their last race, while regular rider Joe Bravo is a 17% winner on turf.

We’ll also add #2 Lovesick Blues (6-1), who won back-to-back races at 6 1/2 furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track and posted 95 and 96 BRIS figures in the process. The five-year-old will return to turf, where he’s 9-2-1-0 for his career, and he’ll keep rider Umberto Rispoli, a 27% winner this meet. Trainer Steven Miyadi has won five of his last seven graded stakes races and strikes at a 14% rate with horses going from dirt to turf.

Race 8: Triple Bend S. (G2), 7 furlongs, 4yo and up

#6 Spirit of Makena (8-5) has won back-to-back starts at sprint distances, including the seven-furlong San Carlos (G3) on March 11 at Santa Anita. The Ghostzapper five-year-old flashed a 95 BRIS figure when beating today’s race rival Forbidden Kingdom by 1 1/2 lengths. Trainer George Papaprodromou is a 14% winner with horses that won their last race and when returning from a 46- to 90-day layoff. Joe Bravo will retain the mount and is 2-for-2 with Spirit of Makena, who posted a sharp five-furlong workout May 20.

We’ll single Spirit of Makena to close out our Pick 3 ticket.