Betting with, and against, Express Train in the Santa Anita Handicap

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 4th, 2022

Eight horses will travel 1 1/4 miles on the dirt in Saturday’s $650,000 Santa Anita H. (G1), the closing race on a blockbuster card that features six graded events, and it's led by #6 Express Train (8-5) for conditioner John Shirreffs. By Union Rags, the 124-pound highweight comes in with two consecutive Grade 2 victories at the meeting, improving his local line to 9-3-3-2.

Express Train held a two-length edge in the lane last campaign before missing by a half-length in this race, and his best could see him go one better on Saturday. The son of Union Rags is in fine form, possesses a lot of versatility in his running style, and the bay also received a fine post draw. Victor Espinoza has been in the silks in his last two performances and will guide the Kentucky-bred once again. The favorite will be formidable in a race lacking a world of depth.

#2 Why Why Paul Why (6-1) will make his first start in the Golden State and rates as a potential wire-to-wire upsetter. The son of Archarcharch, who was claimed for a bargain $30,000 in June, has been first or second in each of his seven starts since. Now in the hands of Mike McCarthy, the talented five-year-old gave a fine account of himself in the recent Jazil S. at Aqueduct, when he finished a clear second while registering a 100 Brisnet Speed figure.

The Kentucky-bred has posted a pair of very good drills on the surface in advance of his Grade 1 debut, and if he clears early and gets things his own way, then he will be dangerous late with Juan Hernandez picking up the mount.

I am a big fan of #8 Stiletto Boy (5-2) and admire his efforts in each of his four Grade 1 races in preparation of this one. The Ed Moger trainee ran arguably the best race of his career when second in the Awesome Again S. (G1) on the surface in October, earning a hefty 105 Late Pace number while going 1 1/8 miles. Kentucky-bred chestnut is a hard-trying gelding who has kept fantastic company since joining this barn. He is a top-three must use with Johnnie V. picking up the mount.

Express Train – With

  • $20 trifecta key 6 with 2,8 ($40)

Express Train – Against

  • $5 trifecta 2,8 with 2,6,8 with 2,6,7,8 ($40)