The great thing about opening day at Santa Anita is in reality it helps mark the beginning of a new season in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing. Big stakes races at “The Great Race Place” brings a lot of the top athletes to the track as they begin their quest for what hopes to be a huge year. New Year’s is still a few days away, but let the celebrations begin. People have ben partying in the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains since this wonderful facility opened on December 25, 1934, We don’t think that’s about to change, so let’s get things rolling with a few selections on the opening day card that features six stakes races.
RACE 5 SAN ANTONIO STAKES
This mile and a sixteenth run for three-year olds and up on the main track is a pretty balanced race with a 7 horse field. We like Midcourt as the John Shireffs trainee has won four in a row but most importantly has Victor Espinoza in the irons. The Peter Miller trained Gray Magician is the lone three-year old in the race and might offer some value.
RACE 6 AMERICAN OAKS
A turf race for there year old fillies at a mile and a quarter has us rolling with the Richard Baltas trained Lady Prancelot. With 16 career starts experience is a strongpoint and she has won twice at Santa Anita.
RACE 7 LA BREA STAKES
Seven furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt looks like a perfect fit for Bellafina. Fabulously fast, this Simon Callaghan trained filly has four wins and a second in five starts over this course. How about Mother Mother as another play. Bob Baffert trained and 6 to 1 on the morning line, she is winless this year and has not raced since May 3. Experience says the crafty conditioner is excellent coming in off a big layoff so if the price is right play the Mother.
RACE 8 ROBERT J FRANKEL STAKES
Mile and an eighth on turf for three year old fillies and up is also a very balanced soiree. Tiny Tina is a closer for trainer Phil D’Amato and has Flavien Prat guiding her. Her stature befits her name but her heart is huge. We also like our boy Victor Espinoza aboard Don’t Blame Judy.
RACE 9 MALIBU STAKES
This seven furlong dash on the dirt for three year old males should be a great opportunity for Omaha Beach. Absolutely not a given as heavy hitters Roadster and Complexity are also in the field, the Beach was our Kentucky Derby horse before health issues sidelined him so we are taking the trip with him.
RACE 10 MATHIS BROTHERS MILE STAKES
You guessed it, this is a one mile race on turf for three-year old males. An eleven horse field could make for a fat superfecta as the money could be spread. Morning line favorite Mo Forza is very attractive, but we also like the Baffert-trained Kingly, Doug O’Neill conditioned Ocean Fury, and Neptune’s Storm. There is a great way to end a Stakes day…a winning superfecta!