The Santa Anita winter meet got underway on Dec 26th, and four stakes races were run on opening day.
State breds were up first in the California Breeders’ Champion, and Caracortado ran his record to 4 for 4 while passing his first route test. The waters get much deeper next time as he is expected to contest the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 6th.
Speaking of win streaks, The Usual Q. T. reeled of his 6th straight in the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort. Victor Espinoza rode the gelded son of Unusual Heat for James Cassidy.
The 37th running of the Grade 1 La Brea was captured in late running fashion by Evita Argentina. Joel Rosario booted home the winner for John Sadler.
The final stakes race run on opening day was the Grade 1 Malibu, and M One Rifle was never headed in a sharp wire job tally under Mike Smith. Misremembered and Papa Clem rounded out the top three, and the latter duo will enjoy longer races in the upcoming Strub Series.
The female edition of the Cal Breeders’ Champion was run on Dec 27th, and Evening Jewel earned the victory for the same connections (Espinoza-Cassidy) that brought us The Usual Q. T. on Saturday.
Lava Man made his much anticipated return in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap on Sunday, and he set the pace and weakened to last in a race he desperately needed. He obviously got tired and deserves another chance to strut his stuff as long as he remains healthy. ’08 winner Proudinsky successfully defended his title by a neck over fav Loup Breton.
The $65k Eddie Logan was the feature race on Dec 28th, and Macias sat the right trip behind an overmatched speed type and had enough left to hold off the late charge of Alfarabi. Once again, Victor Espinoza found the winners’ circle, and Bob Baffert saddled the juvenile son of Purge.
An 8-race card is on tap for Dec. 30th, and the 3rd race is an interesting maiden route for 2yo’s.
Brace Yourselves is the deserving fav for Paco Gonzalez, but keep an eye on $1.9 million purchase Take Control. The latter is trained by Bob Baffert, and the breeding is there with A. P. Indy on top and Azeri on the bottom.
My Wednesday Horse Racing Nation free selection is the 5th race from Santa Anita.
My Wednesday MySpace free pick is the 7th race from Santa Anita.
Click here to view remaining Santa Anita Park pick six races for Dec 30th (free analysis and tickets).