There will be no fans but plenty of action as the Santa Anita meet opens on Saturday with a solid 11-race card that includes six stakes, five of them graded.
There are three Grade 1 races on tap on opening day at Santa Anita—The $300,000 American Oaks for three-year-old fillies going 1 ¼ miles on turf, the $300,000 La Brea for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on dirt and the $300,000 Malibu for three-year-olds at seven panels.
The Malibu is a showdown between the undefeated duo of Nashville and Charlatan, the latter making his first start since crossing the wire six lengths in front in the Arkansas Derby (G1) but getting disqualified for a drug positive.
The American Oaks is one of the better wagering races on the 11-race card that starts at 11:00am PT. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Sharing is the 3-1 morning line.
The Graham Motion trainee as fourth versus older in the matriarch (G1) in her last outing and is back with three-year-old fillies.
There are a couple of longshots that look live. Red Lark (10-1) won the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and was fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Keeneland in her last outing.
An intriguing runner is Neige Blanche (12-) who was third in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in her last start for trainer Leonard Powell, her second start since coming to the U.S.
Sign Up Bonus Up To $250 at TVG.
Belmont Oaks Replay
“She’s doing very well,” Powell said. “She started her three-year-old season very early in Europe (making her first start Feb. 22 in France). This summer she traveled from California to New York and back, then we decided to give her a brief break. She’s been working steadily, and she should be ready on Saturday.”
With Aqueduct on break we will take a look at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park for my Best Plays Report for Saturday.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 9 The American Oaks G1 (3:17 PT)
1 Red Lark 10-1
9 Sharing 3-1
10 Neige Blanche 12-1
5 Luck Money 7-2
The filly raced at the back of the pack early and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in the QEII Cup (G1) last out at Keeneland, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. She won the Del Mar Oaks (G1) two back in an upset at 19-1. She returns here off a 2 1/2-month break and is coming off back to back career tops. She has enough pedigree to handle the added ground and she sure tends to outrun her odds and her 10-1 morning line looks fair enough in this spot.
The Motion trainee tracked the early pace and finished gamely in a close up fourth in the Matriarc (G1) at Del Mar last out off a 2 1/2-month break. Note that effort came against older and she is back in with straight three-year-old fillies here. She won the Edgewood (G2) two back at Churchill Downs going a mile over good ground. She has no raced farther than 1 11/6 miles where she won the Selima last September in her prep for her win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She is out of the $1.6 million earner Shared Account who won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at 1 3/8 miles and was also trained by Motion. The well-traveled filly went back to Maryland after her last race and ships back to the west coast here but only has four starts under her belt and fits well in this spot.
This French bred is 0 for 2 since landing in the U.S. with the Powell barn. She made a mild late bid to finish fourth in the Del mar Oaks (G1) two back in her U.S. debut. She then finished evenly in a third-place finish in the Belmont Oaks (G1) at today’s 1 1/4-mile distance. The winners of that race was Magic Attitude, who ran third in the QEII Cup (G1) in her next start. Steady works on the morning tab for Powell who is 19% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day break. She won the Prix Cleopatra (G3) on soft going in France at 1 3/8 miles back in June. Worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.