2014 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita

Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes

ShamThe 2014 $100,000 Grade 3 Sham Stakes is the 5th race on the card at Santa Anita on Saturday and is one of the 2013-2014 Kentucky Derby Prep Season points races. If you are unfamiliar with the Derby Points System, be sure and check out our page dedicated to this year’s 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System with points leaders and recap videos here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. The Sham Stakes is named in honor of Sham, winner of the 1973 winner of the Santa Anita Derby, as well as one of Secretariat’s biggest rivals. Although overshadowed by Secretariat, Sham was a great horse. Secretariat won the ’73 Kentucky Derby by 2 ½ lengths over Sham, becoming the first horse to run the Derby in under 2 minutes. The previous record had been 2:00 minutes set by Northern Dancer in ’64. Secretariat run it in 1:59 2/5. During that time races were not timed to 1/100th of a second, and non-winning times were not taken, making no exact time available for Sham, but it is believed he beat the 2 minute mark at no better than 1:59 4⁄5 and no worse than 2 minutes. That puts him in an elite group of 4 horses (Secretariat, Monarchos, Sham and Northern Dancer) who have finished the Kentucky Derby at or under 2 minutes. It is even said that he hit his head on the starting gate and lost some teeth during that race and still ran as well as he did!

2014 Sham Stakes

Top FortitudeThere are only 6 entries in the 2014 Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday set to travel 1 mile. Of those six, 3 are contending for the top spots on the morning line. The first is Midnight Hawk at 8/5 on the ML. The Bob Baffert trained horse will be ridden by Mike Smith. Midnight Hawk only has one race under his belt, but he won it by 6 ¼ lengths at Hollywood Park on December 13th at 7 ½ furlongs. It seems that Midnight Hawk should have no trouble getting the distance here in the Sham and his works are top notch. The next two on the morning line are Top Fortitude and Kristo, both at 2 to 1.  Top Fortitude also won his career opener at Hollywood in November, winning by 2 ¾ lengths in a 6 ½ furlong event. Top Fortitude is trained by Kory Owens and will be ridden by Kayla Stra. Kristo has three races under his belt with 2 second place finishes and a 6 ¾ length win in his last outing. In that race he handled 1 1/16 mile with ease back in October at Santa Anita. Life is a JoyOf these three, I believe the public will ignore Top Fortitude somewhat and he should be closer to 4 to 1 by post time, in my opinion. But I also believe that Top Fortitude could be a serious threat and I have a tendency to cheer on Kayla Stra when she rides. For a longshot play, I’m looking at Life is a Joy at 12 to 1 on the morning line. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Corey Nakatani, Life is a Joy has a great shot at upsetting this field. His speed figures are comparable to the top 3 and he looks prepped well for this race. Good luck everybody!




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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at 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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