Full Field in Joe Hernandez Rings in New Year at Santa Anita

Santa Anita

A full field heads to the gate at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Joe Hernandez (G2). (photo credit: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

We ring in the New Year with a full field heading to the gate in the $200,000 Joe Hernandez (G2) for four-year-olds and upward going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf at Santa Anita.

Eleven entered with the field limited to 10, leaving Bay Muzik (12-1) on the outside needing a scratch to get into the race. The Doug O’Neill trained Blitzkrieg is the 3-1 morning line favorite.

The five-year-old gelding has not been seen since May where he was beaten 22 ¾ lengths in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) going 1 ¼ miles on the main track. That was his first start on dirt after winning five of his 13 starts on turf.

There are several others in the field that offer more value including Legends of War (6-1), who exits a 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and Carnivorous (20-1), who beat first level optional claimers last out going 5 ½ furlongs on turf, getting claimed for $80,000 by trainer Steve Knapp.

Jerome On Tap at The Big A

The New Year’s Day feature at Aqueduct is the $150,000 Jerome, a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race. Independence Hall leads a field of seven that will go one mile on the main track.

The Michael Trombetta trainee is 1-5 on the morning line and the current co-favorite in early Kentucky Derby wagering at USRacing at 12-1.

The colt won the Nashua (G3) in his last start by 12 ¼ lengths and earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. He is going to need to regress in a big way to get beaten this afternoon.

Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:

Santa Anita

Santa Anita Race 8 The Joe Hernandez G2 (Post time 3:00 PT)

#8 Legends of War   6-1

#10 Carnivorous   20-1

#6 True Valour   7-2

#1 Tribalist   10-1


Legends of War

This colt stalked the early pace and tired to finish 12th last out in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), beaten 8 3/4 lengths. He earned a career top speed fig winning the Franklin Simpson (G3) at Kentucky Downs two back at 6 1/2 furlongs taking the field gate to wire. The runner up in that race was Stubbins who came back to win the Woodford (G2) and the fourth-place finisher Archidust won the OBS Sprint in his next outing. He has run well at five furlongs including a second in the Desert Code here in June and 5 1/2 her seems perfect for him. Her is better than he showed last out and looks capable of bouncing back here at a fair price. He placed in a Group 2 at York back in ’18 at six furlongs.


The Steve Knapp trainee stalked the early pace, found himself in behind foes nearing the eighth pole, found some room and finished up well to get the job done over Alw-1 optional claimers at 5 1/2 furlongs here. He was claimed out of the race by the Knapp barn that is 21% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. His previous five starts came in routes but he has shown he can sprint on turf. He should get a good trip from mid pace and is going to be a generous price in this spot.

True Valour

Trained by Simon Callaghan, this six-year-old was 10th last out in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) which was his second start of the year. He came back off an eight-month layoff to win the City of Hope Mile (G2) two back at 17-1. His last sprint was a win in the Ballycorus Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown in June of ’18. This distance may be too short for him, but his connections have noted they are using this race as a prep for a 6 3/4 length sprint in Saudi Arabia next month. He needs some pace and should be coming late.


WIN: #8 to win at 4-1 or better.

EX: 8,10 / 1,6,8,10

TRI: 8,10 / 1,6,8,10 / 1,6,8,9,10


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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