HOME > HORSE RACING RADAR
Saturday Stakes Preview: Santa Anita Helps Close Out 2018
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2018
by: Rich Bieglmeier
It's the last weekend of stakes racing for 2018. It's a full Saturday of races with prize money of at least $100,000. There are 11 races dotting the country, from Aqueduct in New York, to Laurel in Maryland, to Gulfstream in south Florida, and Santa Anita in the Golden State.
We've got them all covered for you, complete with commentary, picks and suggested exacta and trifecta wagers on our daily tip sheets.
We'll preview the two graded stakes races for the day, both at Santa Anita.
Santa Anita Race 4 - $150,000 ROBERT J. FRANKEL STAKES GRADE III
Santa Anita Race 8 - $300,000 AMERICAN OAKS GRADE I
Eight fillies and mares, three-years-old and up will run 1 1/8-miles on Santa Anita turf for the sort of 51st running of the ROBERT J. FRANKEL STAKES. Originally, in 1968, the race was called the San Gorgonio Claiming Stakes with prize money of $14,450. In 1975 the name was changed to the San Gorgonio Handicap. The race was promoted to graded status in 1983.
In 2010, the name of the race was once again changed, this time to honor the Hall-of-Fame trainer, Robert J. Frankel. He won what would become his namesake race eight times, more than any other trainer.
Trainer Richard Baltas has won the last two and he'll have a good chance to collect his third in a row with three entries:
GLIDING BY (PP: 6 ML 12-1)
The trio are included in our handicapper's pick with LUCY DE being our fourth choice and QUEBEC and GLIDING BY as our alternate selections.
To claim his third straight crown, Baltas' horses will need to get by our top-pick, morning-line favorite FAHAN MURA (PP: 4 ML 5/2). MURA, as noted in our pro-subscribers' bonus commentary, has an impressive record on Santa Anita grass. She raced six times on the track's turf and won five of them with a second. She's run elsewhere 16 times with only three wins.
Here is the full bonus commentary for the ROBERT J. FRANKEL STAKES.
"FAHAN MURA has won five of six with a second on Santa Anita grass. ESCAPE CLAUSE finished third by a length at this level in her last race. She'll look to rate and run. EXCELLENT SUNSET got off to a slow start in her last race; otherwise, she's a neck away from being undefeated in previous four races after coming across the Atlantic from Great Britain. LUCY DE is making her second start after a lengthy break. She should improve in race two."
The last graded stakes race of the year is the AMERICAN OAKS. The inaugural Oaks ran in 2002 at shuttered Hollywood Park. The race winner, DUBLINO, was disqualified for bumping and jockey Kent Desormeaux whipping placed winner MEGAHERTZ in the face. Now that's how you kick off a new race!
The OAKS moved to a Grade 1 event in 2004; to Santa Anita in 2015, becoming a December race instead of an early-summer run.
This year's rendition features eight three-year-old fillies racing a tough 1 1/4-miles in a quirky turf layout. The race starts in a turn from the downhill course into the front stretch, and then running two turns in a lap around the track.
Many horseplayers believe two turn routes, this is more like two-and-a-half, don't favor front-runners. In the four races run at the distance in the late September through early November meet, none of the races were won wire-to-wire, none from the rail, and three of the four ran from post-position four and out. The average winner in the quartet of races ran in 4.4th place in the opening quarter-mile and in 2.3rd at the half-mile marker.
It's important to note that the rail-horse, KODIAK WEST, scratched and post-positions don't match up with the runners' silks. All have shifted in one position i.e. the two is now the rail horse and so on.
While four races make for an absolutely limited data set, our handicapper's picks and commentary reflects the potential running style and post-position edges.
"CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH [PP: 9 ML 5/2] is two for two on Santa Anita grass and owns the highest, last race speed figure. PAVED [PP: 6 ML 3-1] is another horse for the southern California course with two wins, a second and two thirds in five races, one win and one show in five races elsewhere. COMPETITIONOFIDEAS [PP: 8 ML 4-1] is coming from the East Coast. Trainer Chad Brown wins at 26% with invaders. COLONIA [PP: 2 ML 6-1] has raced well versus our top-choice, he will be running hard late."
Enjoy the college football bowl games and the last weekend of 2018 horse racing.
Have a blessed day and good luck at the races.
<< RETURN TO GUARANTEED TIP SHEET HOMEPAGE