Best and Worst favorites on the card at Santa Anita for February 6
A total of four graded stakes races will highlight an excellent card at "The Great Race Place" on Saturday. While it is of great importance to find a horse that you can key on top of your vertical exotics, as well as single in the multi-race plays, it might be even more valuable to find vulnerable favorites to enhance the return on investment in those types of wagers.
Favorite to back with confidence:
Race 3 -- Las Virgenes (G3)
The one-mile affair for sophomore fillies attracted just five, but there is plenty of quality in the short cast. I was super impressed by the dominating score put forth by #3 Moonlight d’Oro (1-1) and expect huge things from the Mandella pupil. Purchased for $620,000 as a yearling, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro placed in a pair of sprint races to kick start her career, prior to breaking through in a big way over one mile at Los Alamitos most recently.
Moonlight d’Oro forced the pace to the top of the stretch on that day and drove home to a three-length tally under Flavien Prat. The filly displayed a fine stride, and it’s surely worth of note that she beat next-out 11-length maiden romper #1 Moraz (5-2) by a whopping 16 lengths in her triumph.
The price won’t be great, but Moonlight d’Oro will be a key for me in all of the multi-race plays.
Favorite to bet against:
Race 5 -- Maiden Claiming
There are numerous reasons to like #1 Smoothlikebuttah (7-2) in the 6 1/2-furlong dash. The sophomore filly goes turf-to-dirt, cuts back in distance, takes a huge class drop, gets Lasix for the first time, and also will have Rosario in the silks.
But from another view, the Cal-bred lass has strikes against her as well. She draws inside of a big field and a poor break could hurt her chances. In addition, the daughter of Mr. Big has lost leads in the stretch on a few previous occasions, and she didn’t show all that much in her two runs over the Santa Anita surface either.
The affair boasts multiple runners who are eligible to improve in a major way, and I think that a lot has to go right for the morning-line choice to come out on top at a price that doesn’t excite me.