A pair of big races for some of the better performers on the West Coast will be held on Saturday, led by the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1). Defending champ Obviously was a superb winner in his seasonal bow when dominating a small field in the American (G3) and should be winging it on the front end for trainer Phil d’Amato, who took over the stable of Mike Mitchell. This import has been a monster since stretching out and will be super tough if allowed to dictate things at his own speed without being pressed.
South American star Winning Prize has won the Kilroe Mile (G1) and Arcadia S. (G2) in succession and gives trainer Neil Drysdale a big chance in this race. The son of Pure Prize has speed at his disposal and will likely be second with first run on the pacesetter. Recent Dixie (G2) winner Utley might ship out for this, and if the Jonathan Sheppard trainee does, he has some appeal from off the pace for an astute horseman. Thunder Road S. romper Tom’s Tribute, Grade 2 winner Silentio and old warrior Jeranimo, add to the depth of this field.
Also on Sunday is the $300,000 Vanity H. (G1) for fillies and mares going nine panels on the main oval. Santa Maria S. (G2) winner Santa Margarita (G1) second Iotapa will look to rebound off of an unplaced effort at Churchill Downs last time. The John Sadler trainee has been especially consistent with five top-two finishes from as many tries on this oval, and her best might be good enough.
Santa Margarita S. (G1) queen Let Faith Arise, Azeri S. (G2) second Magic Union, Bob Baffert’s Maker of Breaker and Yahilwa, a big second in the Adoration S. (G3) last time, are also likely.