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Santa Anita- 2014 Monrovia Stakes

Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes

PontchatrainOn Sunday, January 5th, 2014 we have the $200,000 Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita. This is a 6 ½ furlong turf event raced on the downhill turf at Santa Anita. The downhill turf is very unique to American racetracks and offers a slight European flair to the course. In Sunday’s race, a field of 9 four years old and up fillies and mares will battle downhill for the victory. The 2 to 1 morning line favorite is Pontchatrain. The 4 year old filly is well versed on this course having won the Unzip Me Stakes by 3 lengths in September of last year and the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes by 1 length in November. In both of those races, jockey Gary Stevens guided her to the win and he is onboard again for the Monrovia.  Close on her heels in the morning line is Kindle at 5/2. Kindle has put up some great speed figures in the past, but hasn’t raced since January of last year. In her last two attempts at the downhill course she has finished 2nd, including her run in the Monrovia last year.

Monrovia at Santa Anita

Sky High GalFor value, I am considering the European invader, Ultrasonic at 4 to 1 on the morning line. Although this will be Ultrasonic’s first attempt at Santa Anita, she has the turf experience needed to get the job done here. For an added bonus, she has Mike Smith in the irons and Bob Baffert as her trainer. Her works look solid and I believe she will put up a top-notch effort in this race. For a longshot play, I like Sky High Gal at 12 to 1 on the ML. She is steadily showing signs of improvement in her speed figures and loves the turf. She ran 4th in the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes back in November, but only missed it by 1 ½ lengths. She hasn’t raced since then, but she has been working out in preparations for the Monrovia and looks fit for this one. She’ll also have Corey Nakatani in the irons who is fully capable of pulling off an upset here. Good luck everyone!

 

 

 

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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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