Santa Anita’s Memorial Day Monday card is bolstered by three Grade 1 races, as well as a Mandatory Payout in the track’s 20-cent Jackpot Pick 6. The Pick 6 covers races 5 – 10, begins at 6:12PM ET, and is the focus of my picks. Track officials estimate the pool will reach $3,000,000.
For a more in-depth review of today’s full Santa Anita card, check out Jeff Siegel’s ‘What You Need to Know’ blog.
Race 5 (6:12PM ET) – G1 Gamely Stakes
#3 QUEEN GODDESS (9/5) tops this field and note that Luis Saez makes the trip to California to ride. Huge vote of confidence for a mare that owns a distinct pace advantage over this group. They’ll send and not sure anyone else will. Depth players may look to #5 VIAREGGIO (5/2) or #6 QUATTROELLE (3/1), but I would rather keep t his ticket skinny early.
Race 6 (6:42PM ET) – Maiden Special Weight
Six maidens line up in Race 6 and Bob Baffert sends out a pair, with #6 TRUEHOOD (8/5) likely the barns ‘favored’ runner. He draws top jock Juan Hernandez (32% strike rate with Baffert at Santa Anita) and has been working aggressively in past weeks. He seems quicker than the ‘other’ Baffert charge, #5 EXTORTION (5/2), but keep an eye on the Double probables in Race 5 to get a glimpse into which horses are favored in Race 6.
Race 7 (7:13PM ET) – G1 Shoemaker Mile
We’ve gone light to this point and we can expand the ticket accordingly in the G1 Shoemaker, which has some potential to be wide open. #6 EXAULTED (5/1) hasn’t really been challenged in three tries on the lawn, but the water is much deeper here. #7 BALNIKHOV (5/1) has just the one blemish on his record, and #9 LAMPLIGHTER JACK (15/1) will try to steal this race from the break. #2 HONG KONG HARRY (7/2) appears a little overrated to me, but he’s worth having on the ticket as the favorite.
Race 8 (7:44PM ET) – G1 Hollywood Gold Cup
In a showdown between Bob Baffert-trained runners, my eyes are for #4 DEFUNDED (4/5), who seems to have every edge in this field. He’s sharp as a nail right now, loves Santa Anita and he’ll just have to navigate this distance, which has proven a big problematic in the past. Stablemate #1 COUNTRY GRAMMER (8/5) is back off another trip to the Middle East and could need one off the layoff and travel. The others in here, like #2 SENOR BUSCADOR (5/1) and #6 KISS TODY GOODBYE (12/1) would just be hoping for this to fall apart, which seems not likely.
Race 9 (8:16PM ET) – Allowance
A big field is signed on for this turf allowance and with no real standouts, you’ll want to use as many of these as possible. A case can be made for just about all of these, so punching the ALL button wouldn’t be the worst idea in this group.
Race 10 (8:46PM ET) – Allowance
If we’ve made it this far, let’s finish it with a win. I find the downhill course especially attractive for horses that have done well here before, so #7 DOITFORANDREW is a ‘must use’ for me. I’ll also use #10 WYFIRE (6/1), #5 KING APOLLO (7/2) and #1 VANCOUGAR (10/1).
MY TICKET Race 5: 3 Race 6: 6 Race 7: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 Race 8: 4 Race 9: ALL Race 10: 1, 5, 7, 10 Ticket Cost (20-cent base): $67.20