Garrity's Tuesday Stakes Picks: Opening Day at Santa Anita – Grade 1 American Oaks, Malibu, La Brea, more
We’ve awakened from our solstice slumber for a few plays at Santa Anita Park, where it is opening day of their marathon winter/spring meeting. We have selected four races, all of them graded stakes, as worthy of our sporting and pari-mutuel attention; we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, so let’s go.
Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 4:00 pm ET
Grade 1 American Oaks, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
A field of seven lines up for the American Oaks. We think the early pace will be somewhere between solid and swift, which will play in favor of 3-Anisette, a strong late runner who has never run this far before, but who won the Del Mar Oaks earlier this year at a mile and an eighth, and who has the pedigree to get the distance. She will probably be last early, but we think Anisette will be first where it matters, and will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 5, $50 to win on 3-Anisette.
Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 5:30 pm ET
Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
Eight 3-year-olds line up for the Malibu, the traditional opening day headliner at Santa Anita. It’s a very good group, and a handicapper could make a case for most of the entrants, but the one we fancy the most is 1-Giant Mischief, who is lightly raced, and whose inconsistent race record – he’s run only three times this year, all on the Arkansas-Kentucky circuit – have only provided a hint of his true abilities. We think he takes a major step forward here, in part because we think that he’ll get a good trip from his rail post, sitting in midpack behind what should be a very fast early pace, and moving to the front when the pacesetters tire. We will bet Giant Mischief to win at 5-1 odds. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $50 to win on 1-Giant Mischief.
Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 6:00 pm ET
Grade 2 Santa Anita Mathis Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Seven go in the Mathis Mile. While it’s not exactly the toughest Grade 2 stakes field we’ve seen this year, it’s a good betting race. There is not much speed in the group, so we’re taking a stab with 3-Calm Sea, who should get an uncontested early lead, and who should, from that tactically advantageous position, prove difficult to catch. He’ll be in front early, and we hope he will be in front late; we will bet him to win at 10-1. The bet: Santa Anita. Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Calm Sea.
Santa Anita Park, Race 10, 6:30 pm ET
Grade 1 La Brea Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
A deep field of ten is assembled for the La Brea. We are We are looking for improvement from 3-Howl, who has run just twice, and while she did win both times, she did not run well enough either time to beat a group this good. We think she will be much better today, primarily because her recent morning workouts have been wickedly fast. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked – and the way to get those chumps out of their funk is by making a big play on Howl. We will do just that, andbet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 10, $50 to win on 3-Howl.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.