The Santa Anita meeting gets underway on Friday with three Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races on the nine race card.
There are three more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Saturday and one on Sunday at the Arcadia, California track.
Juveniles take center stage on Friday with the $200,000 Chandelier (G2) winner earning a fee-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
The $300,000 American Pharoah (G1) offers up a starting berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) while the $100,000 Speakeasy winner earns a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).
There is a total of 14 stakes over the first three days of the 16-day Santa Anita meeting.
Embattled Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has solid contenders in both the Chandelier and American Pharoah.
In the Chandelier he will saddle the 9-5 morning line favorite Grace Adler, who won the Del Mar Debutante (G1) by 11 ¼ lengths. Flavien Prat has the return call and the daughter of Curlin will break from the four post. Baffert also will send out Censorship (12-1), who is still a maiden after three starts, checking in second in her last two outings.
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Del Mar Debutante Replay
Baffert has won the Chandelier in the past two years with Bast in 2019 and Princess Noor last year.
In the American Pharoah Baffert will send three of the seven entered including the 6-5 morning line favorite Corniche, who broke his maiden with a 98 Beyer at Del Mar on Sept. 4.
Flying Drummer (10-1) is 0 for 2 with a couple of seconds and Rockefeller (3-1) was a gate to wire winner in his debut on Aug. 28 at Del Mar.
The American Pharoah, previously named the Frontrunner and Norfolk Stakes has been won by Baffert a record nine times.
The Speakeasy drew a field of seven with the Richard Mandella trained Forbidden Kingdom the 2-1 morning line favorite.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 6 The Chandelier G2 3:30 PT
6 Elm Drive 8-1
4 Grace Adler 9-5
3 Dance to the Music 5-1
2 Ain’t Easy 5-2
This filly is one of three in here exiting the Del Mar Debutante (G1) at seven furlongs. The daughter of Mohaymen dueled through very fast early fractions and was cooked, fading to finish a well beat seventh as Grace Adler rolled to a 11 ¼ length win. The D’Amato trainee won her first two starts, breaking her maiden in her debut at Los Al by eight lengths and then winning the Sorrento (G2) in a game effort by a head at six furlongs at Del Mar. She is bred to go long, out of an Indian Charlie mare. The pace likely is not going to be as fast as last out on the stretch out two turn turns. D’Amato does good work with juvies and she should bounce back with a better effort here with the added ground.
The Baffert trainee got the perfect pace set up in the Debutante, sitting near the back of the pack and she came calling, taking command and drawing away to win by 11 ¼ lengths. She broke her maiden two back at five furlongs in a smart looking effort sitting off the pace and fishing gamely to win by ¾ of a length. The way she drew off and her margin of victory last out is going to likely make her much shorter than her 9-5 morning line. She was a $700,000 purchase, by Curlin out of a Newfoundland mare that has dropped three other winners including 2018 Gazelle (G3) runner up Virginia Key ($86,820), that race at nine furlongs. Baffert is 33% winners moving runners from sprint to route and has won this race in five of the last nine editions including the last pair.
Dance to the Music
The filly was a smart looking maiden winner in her debut at 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar. She then went in the Debutante where she was bumped coming out of the gate, prompted the fast early pace and she stuck around for the runner up spot in a decent effort although to match for the winner. The $575,000 Ocala purchase is by Maclean’s Music out of a Congrats mare and should be able to handle the two turns. Her last was better than it looked and she may end up a fair price in this spot.
WIN: Elm Drive to win at 5-1 or better.
EXACTA: 6 / 2,3,4 and 4,6 / 3,4,6