Friday at the track: Garrity goes west to pick the horses at Santa Anita Park, including the Chillingworth Stakes and the Eddie D. Stakes
In this Friday, May 22, 2020 photo, jockeys wearing face masks ride in the first horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Ashley Landis | Associated Press
Friday at the track: Garrity goes west to pick the horses at Santa Anita Park, including the Chillingworth Stakes and the Eddie D. Stakes
First picked race, the 4th at Santa Anita Park, has a post time of 5:10 pm ET

Racing returns to Southern California after an absence that seems longer than it actually was. It’s been only 18 days, less than three weeks, since Del Mar closed, but it feels a lot longer.

We have four plays on today’s racing at Santa Anita, and we’re happy to make them, partly because the card is very good, and partly because our results the past few days at Churchill Downs and Belmont have been nothing short of disastrous. We will do what so many have done, and that is look for a fresh start in the Golden State, where the main track will be fast, and the turf firm. Let’s go.

Santa Anita Park, Race 4, 5:10 pm ET

$50,000 Claiming, 1 mile, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Seven sophomore colts run a mile in this $50k claimer. We’re all in on the morning line favorite, 4-Polar Wind. He’s got the figs, he’s got the right pace-pressing running style, and he’s got an excellent, veteran trainer in Cliff Sise. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 4, $40 to win on 4-Polar Wind.

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:12 pm ET
Grade 2 Chillingworth Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Chillingworth is the first of two stakes today at Santa Anita, and it’s a good one, with a pretty evenly matched field of six. Five of them are between 2-1 and 5-1 on the morning line, so it’s a real handicapper’s race.

We like 2-Qahira, who starts for trainer Bob Baffert. There are two things about her that we fancy: the first is that she’s in very good form, coming into this with three straight wins; the second is that she appears to be lone speed: California dirt sprints, especially stakes races, are usually loaded with speed horses, but most of the runners here lack it, and we therefore see Qahira getting a very comfortable trip setting the early pace. We think she wins the Chillingworth in wire-to-wire fashion and will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 6, $40 to win on 2-Qahira.

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 6:43 pm ET

Grade 2 Eddie D. Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

The Eddie D., named for longtime Southern California jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, has seven sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Santa Anita turf. We’re going with the one on the outside, 7-Big Runnuer, who should get an ideal trip just behind what we expect to be an incendiary pace. Look for him to sit just behind, and to the outside, of the early speed, and to move to the front down the stretch. He’s won two in a row, and we think he makes it three today. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 7-Big Runnuer.

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 7:45 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven females line up for this first-level allowance at a mile on the grass. We are expecting a legitimate early pace, which will compromise the chances of the pacesetters, and favor the come-from-behinders. That makes the pick the French-bred 2-Avenue de France, who makes her third North American start today. She won her first two races, both at minor tracks in France, and though her results since being imported to the United States have been less successful, we think she’s headed in the right direction, and we certainly think the race shape will favor her closing running style. Look for her to be in the rear early and rolling late. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $35 to win on 2-Avenue de France.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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