Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out the promising American Anthem as he seeks to win the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) for the fifth time on Saturday at Santa Anita.
The son of Bodemeister broke his maiden in his debut at Del Mar on Dec. 3 going six furlongs and stretches out to two turns for the first time. The colt will break from the rail with Mike Smith aboard and is the 9-5 second choice on the morning line.
Baffert won the Sham last year with Collected, the 2014 edition with Midnight Hawk, with Bob and John in 2006 and Wild and Wise in 2001.
The 8-5 morning line favorite is the John Shirreffs trained Gormley, who is looking to rebound off a poor showing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) where he placed seventh, beaten 16 ¼ lengths by the winner Classic Empire.
The colt won the Frontrunner (G1) in his previous start over the Santa Anita main track on Oct. 1 after breaking his maiden impressively in his debut at Del Mar on Sept. 4.
The race is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs toward entry into the Run for the Roses.
Gormley is currently listed at +4000 at Mybookie.ag in early Derby betting.
The co-features on Saturday’s card at Santa Anita are the $200,000 San Gabriel (G2) for four-year-olds and upward on turf going nine furlongs and the $100,000 Las Cienegas (G3) for fillies and mares going 6 ½ on the downhill turf course.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 7 The Sham G3 Post time 3:30 PT
1 American Anthem 9-5
6 Big Hit 4-1
5 Gormley 8-5
2 Term of Art 5-1
American Anthem was a good looking maiden winner in his debut for the Bob Baffert barn that has won this race four times. The colt tracked the early pace and finished gamely to win by a neck. Three runners have exited the race to run back and they have all won.
The $425,000 Ocala purchase is by Bodemeister out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners. The barn is 25% winners moving runners from sprint to route and this guy has plenty of pedigree to handle the extra ground. He should get a dream trip sitting just off the pace and is even quick enough to be right in the mix early.
Big Hit got the job done last out in his third career start, taking the field gate to wire at Del Mar going 6 ½ furlongs. He was well beaten by Gormley in his debut and by Term of Art second out.
He tired to finish sixth in his first trip around two turns but sure has enough pedigree, by Super Saver out of a Hard Spun mare, her first foal to race. He is headed in the right direction and still looks as if he has some upside.
Gormley broke his maiden in his debut and took the field gate to wire to win the Frontrunner (G1) in his first start against winners, able to get away with moderate early fractions. He was sent off at 5-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) but bobbled at the break and faded to finish a well beaten seventh.
The colt has worked sharply since his last outing and the fact Shirreffs has kept this guy in training instead of giving him a longer break bodes well he is going to bounce back with a much better effort. However, his price is going to be light and he will not have an easy lead here.
WIN: American Anthem to win at 9-5 or better.
EXACTA: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6
TRIFECTA: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,5,6,7
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