Santa Anita typically has an excellent card on the day after Christmas to jumpstart its winter race meeting, and this year is no exception, as the program features four graded stakes with competitive fields.
I’ll focus my attention on the graded stakes Pick Four which will go as races six through nine on the program and is comprised of the $100,000 San Simeon (G3) on the downhill turf course, the $300,000 La Brea (G1) for three-year-old fillies going seven-eighths on the main track, the $300,000 Malibu (G1) for colts and geldings, also at a seven-furlong trip on the dirt, and the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) going eight furlongs on the turf.
The San Simeon (G3) drew a full field of 14 entrants and is a wide-open, crapshoot of a race, evidenced by the odds of Holy Lute—winner of the Eddie D. Stakes (G3) over Santa Anita’s turf course—who is a tepid 9-2 favorite on the morning line.
The 44th running of the La Brea (G1) looks like a showdown between East Coast invaders Lightstream, a multiple graded stakes winner that has won four of six lifetime starts, and the fleet of foot Finley’sluckycharm, who has reeled off three wins in a row at Churchill Downs by a combined total of 20 ¾ lengths, the most recent of which in a six-furlong minor stakes in 1:08 2/5.
On paper, East Coast shippers figure to play a prominent role in the outcome of the Malibu (G1) as well, as Grade 2 winner Mind Your Biscuits, a game third in the Breeder’s Cup Sprint (G1) in his last start, and the swift Sharp Azteca, a two-time stakes winner this year, look to be the primary contenders. The West Coast will be represented by a formidable, three-pronged entry sent postward by trainer Bob Baffert.
The Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) is another wide-open turf affair that is a great betting race. The recent private purchase Conquest Enforcer will make his first start for the high percentage Phil D’Amato barn and is the lukewarm 7-2 favorite on the morning line in the field of 11.
Next week, we’ll keep our attention focused on the West Coast, as we’ll have an analysis and selections for the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) on New Year’s Eve at Santa Anita in addition to the $200,000 San Pasqual (G2) on New Year’s Day at the Arcadia, Calif. racetrack. Happy New Year!
For today’s Santa Anita spot plays from The Green Sheet, click HERE.