Big stakes weekend at Santa Anita highlighted by a trio of front-running winners & a pair of deep closers

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March 15th, 2016


The signature race of the meet highlighted a big weekend of racing at Santa Anita.

Santa Anita H. (G1): Tarabilla Farms’ MELATONIN (Kodiak Kowboy) went to the front out of the gate and held off all comers in posting a 16-1 upset beneath Joe Talamo. The rapidly improving five-year-old endured 1 ¼ miles on the fast main oval in 2:02 for conditioner David Hoffmans.

San Felipe S. (G2): Halo Farms et al’s DANZING CANDY (Twirling Candy) sped to the front shortly after the gates opened and the Cliff Sise trainee never looked back in posting a two-length score. The rapidly rising sophomore sped 1 1/16 miles on the fast main oval in 1:43 with Mike Smith in the stirrups, registering a 104 BRIS Speed rating, the top number earned by a Kentucky Derby prospect this year.

Frank Kilroe Mile (G1): Finish Line Racing LLC et al’s WHAT A VIEW (Vronsky) took the lead soon after the start and never gave way in securing a 3 ¾-length romp under Kent Desormeaux. The Kenny Black-trained gelding got one mile on the “good” turf in 1:35 2/5 en route to his first Grade 1 conquer.

San Carlos S. (G2): C R K Stable’s KOBE’S BACK (Flatter) was last at the top of the lane but began to pick up momentum nearing midstretch and passed all foes for conditioner Peter Eurton. The five-year-old was 1 ¼ lengths clear at the finish, clocking seven panels in 1:22 1/5 with Gary Stevens in the irons.

San Luis Rey S. (G2): Haras Phillipson’s homebred GENEROSIDADE (Nedawi) rallied from far back to gain the lead in late stretch and inched home to a 1 ½-length victory under the guidance of Tiago Pereira. The 71-1 outsider went 1 ½ miles on the “good” turf course in 2:28 4/5 for conditioner Paulo Lobo.

Track Stats

From a total of 34 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 32 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 47 percent of the wins. From 26 frays contested on the dirt oval, nine animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (35 percent), while one of the eight grassy runs this past week went to a wire-to-wire winner (12 percent).

Speed on the main oval was best over the weekend but even with that said, we did still witness horses rallying from well back and winning, hinting the oval was relatively fair. Of the nine to lead at every pole on the dirt, four came in routes and five at one turn.

Meet Totals












152 (38%)

2nd Choices:


74 (18%)

Turf Wire:


19 (18%)

Dirt Wire:


82 (27%)





Thursday (3/10)

6TH – DOYOUKNOWSOMETHING (Awesome Again) was headed nearing midstretch but battled on gamely late to post a brave score under Joe Talamo. The A.C. Avila charge was actually getting away some late and might use this as a springboard to a nice form run going forward.

7TH – ILLUMINANT (Quality Road) rated kindly while well placed in the early going and poured it when given her cue, recording a fine performance for conditioner Mike McCarthy. The talented four-year-old seemed to earn another stakes try after this dominant showing beneath Flavien Prat.

Friday (3/11)

3RD – STEALTH DRONE (Smoke Glacken) did everything right but win this allowance race, just missing late under Rafael Bejarano. The Danny Velasquez trainee nearly went last-to-first in falling a nose behind a recent Grade 2 heroine, so this performance surely should be noted as she finished more than six lengths clear of her nearest foe.

4TH – STIR FRY (Papa Clem) had little chance with the winner late but did finish more than nine lengths clear of third in a solid first run for conditioner Gary Stute. The sophomore lass is also likely to improve next time out for a barn better with runners having a race under their belts.

Saturday (3/12)

1ST – SHH SHE’S OURS (Tiz Wonderful) relished the move back to the dirt, posting a nice score to kick off the big day of racing for trainer James Cassidy. The four-year-old lass earned a lifetime-best 97 BRIS Speed figure and likely will stay on the main oval after this run.

4TH – SWEET SURRENDER (Street Boss) was in tight for a while in his debut but the Craig Dollase charge overcame the traffic, rolling home to a daylight tally beneath Victor Espinoza. The sophomore filly didn’t set the teletimer on fire, but she looked the part from a visual standpoint and could be any kind going forward.

5TH – We tabbed GIANT EXPECTATIONS (Frost Giant) for big improvement following a decent debut and poor break, and the Peter Eurton trainee did move forward with a big second in this heat. The three-year-old colt was more than eight lengths clear of third in a field that appeared to have some nice prospects; another move in the right direction will see this one graduating quite soon.

7TH – MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya) impressed us and looked to have a lot left in the lane closing for second. The Bob Baffert pupil is as honest as they come and remains a top three-year-old who could have a big spring.

10TH – Melatonin has now posted a pair of superb victories since stretching out to two turns and the five-year-old will likely stay running long in this fine form cycle.

Sunday (3/13)

1ST – We’re not sure what was in this maiden field, but ROCKET FUEL (Cyclotron) finished nine lengths clear of third in second and any improvement could vault him to the winner’s circle next time for trainer Bruce Headley.

A Look Ahead

Saturday’s feature at Santa Anita is the $500,000 Santa Margarita S. (G1), while Sunday plays host to the $100,000 Las Flores S. (G3).