We’ll kick off the 2017 blog campaign with an analysis of a pair of stakes races at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, January 7 — the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds going a flat mile on the main track, and the $200,000 San Gabriel Handicap (G2) for four-year-olds and upward going a mile and an eighth on the grass in Arcadia.
The Sham (G3), a race with early Kentucky Derby (G1) implications, features a compact, albeit competitive field of seven sophomore colts and geldings headlined by 8-5 morning line favorite Gormley, a winner of two-of-three lifetime starts including the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita last fall. The bay son of Malibu Moon is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and is trained by John Shirreffs; he will break from post five under jockey Victor Espinoza.
The San Gabriel (G2) will have a full field of 11 (with the early scratch of Syntax (Ire)) well-matched older colts and geldings going postward — it promises to be a great betting race. East Coast based Ring Weekend is the 5-2 morning line favorite and will try to use the mile and an eighth affair as a springboard to the Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) at Royal Ascot in June. A six-year-old gelded son of Tapit, Ring Weekend is owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, is trained by Graham Motion and will by ridden by Drayden Van Dyke.
I’ll also provide free analysis and selections for the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) for three-year-old fillies to be run at Santa Anita on Sunday, January 8. The seven-furlong dirt test kicks off the West Coast road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and drew a field of nine fillies headlined by Speedway Stable LLC’s Noted and Quoted, a Florida-bred daughter of The Factor that has won two-of-five starts lifetime and has career earnings of $259,580.
For Saturday’s Santa Anita Spot Plays click HERE.