How to bet exacta and trifecta tickets in the Sensational Star

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 20th, 2021

Seven talented California-breds are set to square off in Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Star S. at Santa Anita, a competitive six-furlong sprint with plenty of win candidates for handicappers to consider.

Many bettors will be drawn to the morning line favorite #3 Jetovator (5-2), and understandably so. The five-year-old gelding is a capable and consistent turf sprinter victorious in his last two starts over Sunday’s course and six-furlong distance. He was particularly sharp in an open allowance race on Feb. 20, leading all the way to score by 2 1/4 lengths.

The 96 Brisnet Speed rating Jetovator posted ranks as the highest last-out figure in the Sensational Star field, but it comes with a caveat. Jetovator enjoyed a perfect trip that day, securing an uncontested lead through fractions of :22.33 and :45.13—fairly modest for a turf sprint at Santa Anita. A couple of his rivals have the potential to make things trickier up front on Saturday, including #1 Jamming Eddy (7-2), who figures to flash speed from the rail in his first start for hot trainer Andrew Lerner.

Jetovator might be good enough to handle a faster pace and still prevail; on Dec. 27, he won a state-bred allowance sprint at Santa Anita after pressing hot fractions of :21.49 and 44.23. But a contested pace would open the door for #7 Brandothebartender (7-2) to get involved at a nice price.

A veteran eight-year-old with an admirable 42-7-6-15 lifetime record (and a 33-6-5-10 resume on turf), Brandothebartender has a ton of back class to rely on. Whereas Jetovator is making his stakes debut, Brandothebartender has already cracked the trifecta in a dozen stakes, including two renewals of the Sensational Star. In the 2018 California Flag H. sprinting five furlongs over the Santa Anita lawn, Brandothebartender rallied to defeat a quality field led by 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) runner-up Richard’s Boy.

Brandothebartender has been running long as of late, entering off a close third-place effort in the one-mile Tiznow S. on dirt at Santa Anita. Cutting back in distance and returning to turf should make Brandothebartender formidable under hot jockey Umberto Rispoli, a 25% winner at Santa Anita this meet.

Let’s box Jetovator and Brandothebartender in the exacta, then play them in the first two slots of a trifecta using Jamming Eddy and #5 Margot’s Boy (6-1) for third place.

$10 Exacta Box: 3,7 ($20)
$2.50 Trifecta: 3,7 with 3,7 with 1,5 ($10)
Total: $30

Good luck!