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2014 San Antonio & San Marcos

San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita

Game On DudeThe $300,000 Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes is the 5th race on the card at Santa Anita on Saturday and will feature a field of 7 four year olds and up traveling 1 1/8 mile. The San Antonio marks the 2014 debut for Game On Dude who will undoubtedly be the one to beat in this race at 3/5 on the morning line. Game On Dude ran 2nd to Will Take Charge in his last outing in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, denied by a head. He ran a disappointing 9th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but prior to those two races the Dude had been on fire winning 6 in a row including victories in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and last year’s edition of the San Antonio Stakes. He returns here Saturday to defend his title and it will take something short of a miracle for the rest of this field to produce an upset. Still, I’m not much on betting the chalk so let’s see who has a prayer here. Looking to battle the Dude on the front end will be Blueskiesnrainbows at 3 to 1 on the ML. Blueskiesnrainbows is undefeated in his last 2 starts, winning the Grade 2 San Pasqual at Santa Anita by 1 ¼ lengths and the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Hollywood Park by ½ of a length.Blueskiesnrainbows Blueskiesnrainbows tried to bump heads with the Dude in last year’s Pacific Classic, but ended up running 12th. Game On Dude won that race by 8 ½ lengths while Blueskiesnrainbows was out of it by 24 lengths. That being said, Blueskiesnrainbows ran wide early on drawing the 12 spot post position and had little left half way through the race. In the San Antonio he draws a better post position and might be able to battle it out with the Dude for the early lead here. If I had to choose an upset horse here, Blueskiesnrainbows would have to be it. For a longshot, I’ll take Blingo at 6 to 1 on the morning line. If Aaron Gryder can get the 5 year old to stalk the pace here and Game On Dude and Blueskiesnrainbows tire one another out, the 5 year old gelding has a shot at a huge upset.

San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita

LucayanThe $200,000 Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes is the 7th race on the card at Santa Anita Saturday and will feature a field of 13 four year olds and up going 1 ¼ mile over the turf. The field would have been 14 but the Peter Miller trained Artic North was an early scratch. The 7/2 morning line favorite is Jeranimo. In his last race, Jeranimo won the Grade 2 San Gabriel at Santa Anita by 1 ¼ lengths in a late charge. Looking to give him some trouble is Vagabond Shoes at 9/2 on the ML. Vagabond Shoes ran 5th in his last outing in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf missing the win by 2 ¼ lengths. I have 2 possible value plays that I like in this one, though. The first is Slim Shadey at 6 to 1 on the morning line. Slim has been training well and I believe his front-running style will suit him well here as long as he is able to control the pace. Corey Nakatani will be back in the irons again and does well with this terrain. My other value play would have to be Lucayan, also at 6 to 1 on the morning line. Mike Smith gets the mount here. In his last outing, Joel Rosario urged Lucayan to a ½ length victory in the Grade 2 Hollywood Cup Turf Stakes at Hollywood Park. He has been training well and looks good for the San Marcos. Good luck everybody!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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