Race of the Week: Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita | Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Lead:
The good news for the connections of stakes-quality California-based 3-year-old fillies is that there is no Faiza in this year’s renewal of the Summertime Oaks, and with the Bob Baffert-trained multi-graded stakes winner sitting out the race a rare opportunity to secure valuable black type is available for main track specialists in this mile and one-sixteenth affair that carries a $200,000 purse.

​Field Depth:
Kentucky invader THE ALYS LOOK was conditioned by Brad Cox through her first seven starts, most recently when finishing an excellent third at 30-1 in the Kentucky Oaks-G1. She since has been transferred to trainer Christopher Davis. It seems somewhat problematic that she can duplicate that effort in her first start in her new barn fresh off the plane with one half mile workout in the four weeks since that hard, taxing effort at Churchill Downs. There is only one other stakes winner in the field, AND TELL ME NOLIES, victorious in the Chandelier S.-G2 over this same track and distance last fall but winless in four starts since.

There are at least two in the field (DOINITTHEHARDWAY, ANCIENT PEACE) that want or need the lead at any cost, so a faster than average pace can be anticipated. Though the Santa Anita main track generally favors runners with early speed, the inclination is to look for a contender that can settle early and take hold late. To this handicapper, there are two such fillies to choose from (see below).

Our Eyes:
1-THE ALYS LOOK: She won the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds but was a bit flat when a distant third in the subsequent Fair Grounds. She then ran hard when an admirable third in Louisville, but her form suggests she needs to be within range early, and in a field that projects to have quick early splits, her one-paced, grinding style might leave her with too much to do.

2-WINDOW SHOPPING: This is an American Pharoah filly with untapped ability. A 16 length maiden winner over this main track two races back, she was compromised by a slow start and a roadblock on the far turn before rallying to be third behind Faiza in the Santa Anita Oaks-G2. Since that early April outing, the Richard Mandella-trained has trained in spectacular fashion. The faster the early pace of today’s race, the more dangerous she will be, assuming she is taken back early and patiently ridden.

3-AND TELL ME NOLIES: Unplaced at 45-1 in the Kentucky Oaks, this daughter of Arrogate hasn’t produced the kind of development that was hoped for after becoming a Grade-2 winner over a distance of ground last October at Santa Anita. She can get at least a piece of it, but only an extreme pace meltdown, such as what occurred in the Chandelier, gives her any kind of chance.

4-LILY POO: She has an improving pattern and a good stalking style, but the field she defeated in the listed California Oaks over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields last month was decidedly softer than what she will facing today.

5-DOINITTHEHARDWAY: She was visually quite pleasing in a seven furlong allowance sprint score three weeks ago and she does show a gate-to-wire nine length maiden win over a mile three races back. However, given the projected pace flow (quick), she might be taken out of her comfort zone, though there exists the possibility that if handed the role as the controlling speed, she could get brave.

6-ANCIENT PEACE: She ran off and hid in a first level allowance main track miler two races back but found tougher company and an extra furlong too much to deal with and faltered to finish fourth at 3/5 in the Providencia Stakes-G3 on grass three weeks later. She tends to pull and get rank when rating tactics are employed, so it might be prudent to just let her roll. Given her quirkiness and despite her natural ability, she may not be one to trust.

7-ANYWHO: She is unbeaten in two starts (both at seven furlongs), beating maidens at Aqueduct last fall and, in her first start since being transferred to trainer John Sadler, easily disposing of stakes-quality allowance sprinters over the local main track in late March. She is extremely fast on speed figures and has looked terrific in the morning in several recent breezes while showing a willingness to switch off early and accelerate when given her cue. She is, potentially, a monster in the making.

Most Certain Exotics Contender:
It will be a stunning to this handicapper if ANYWHO and to a slightly lesser extent WINDOW SHOPPING aren’t in the frame when dust has settled.

Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
There won’t be many prices in a seven runner field, but AND TELL ME NO LIES could clunk up and get a minor award if a contested and quick early pace develops, as is projected.

Sending it in ($100 bankroll):

  • $60 Win - #7 ANYWHO
  • $20 Exacta Box - #7 ANYWHO and #2 WINDOW SHOPPING

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