Santa Anita- Santa Ynez & San Gabriel

Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita

Bob BaffertThe $200,000 Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes is the 2nd race on the card at Santa Anita for Saturday and will feature a field of 4 three year old fillies traveling 6 ½ furlongs. 2 close favorites seem to have the morning line all tied up. The morning line even money filly is Taste Like Candy. In her debut race, Taste Like Candy won by 6 ½ lengths in a straight maiden 48k at Santa Anita in October.  She followed that race up with a 2nd place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park.  She looks great for this race and has a very nice jockey/trainer combo with jockey, Rafael Bejarano and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The top morning line favorite is Crushed Velvet at 4/5.  Crushed Velvet has had only one outing in her career, but “crushed” it with a 5 ¼ length victory in a 6 ½ furlong maiden race at Hollywood Park in early December. She put up a speed figure in that race that should give Taste Like Candy all she could want and more here. The Bob Baffert  trained horse will have Martin Garcia back in the irons again and should fight Taste Like Candy for the early lead. Because of this, I believe the other Baffert trained filly could be the true value in the Santa Ynez. Awesome Baby is 4 to 1 on the ML. She hasn’t been out since September and in her last two outings, she didn’t fare as well as her connections had hoped. She ran 7th in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and 5th in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita. Her only win was in her debut race at Del Mar where she won by 4 ¾ lengths in a straight maiden 75k. Regardless, her works show that she has been training for this race well and I believe she could upset this short field. To top it off, Mike Smith will be in the irons.

San Gabriel at Santa Anita

Slim ShadeyThe $200,000 Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes is the 8th race on the card at Santa Anita and will host a field of 9 four year olds and up traveling 1 1/8 mile on the turf. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Jeranimo. The 8 year old hasn’t won a race since July when he won the Grade 1 Ed Read at Del Mar. Since then he has been in 3 other Grade 1 events including a 9th place finish in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, a 9th place finish in the Grade 1 Awesome Again and a 7th place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The good news is that Rafael Bejarano will be back in the irons. Bejarano guided Jeranimo to his Ed Read win, as well as a win in the San Gabriel last year. Close on his hooves in the morning line is Dubai You X Y Z at 3 to 1, but I must admit- I’m not biting. Dubai You X Y Z has only been in one graded event, the 2012 Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and he finished 6th, running a close 3 lengths behind the winner of that race, Jeranimo. Dubai You X Y Z looks like a great turf horse, but he just hasn’t proven himself in the big races and I have to wonder why his connections have kept him out of them. For value I’m going with Slim Shadey at 9/2 on the ML. Slim Shadey hasn’t won one since his gate to wire run in the Grade 2 San Marcos last February. He has been beaten by Jeranimo twice since last year’s San Gabriel, but in both races Slim put up some of his lowest speed figures. This race will give him an opportunity to take the front-end lead early and control the pace of this race. I look for another gate-to-wire win here from him should all go well. For a possible longshot play, I’m going with Artic North at 8 to 1 on the morning line. This 5 year old gelding has shown nothing but improvements in his speed figures and could be a threat from about mid-pack should Slim Shadey get strongly contested on the front-end. 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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