Homeracing

How to bet the 2021 Bayakoa Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 5th, 2021

A strong field of seven fillies and mares will headline the $100,000 Bayakoa S. (G3) at Los Alamitos on Sunday. I am looking for an upset in the 1 1/16-mile affair featuring four graded stakes heroines.

The Simon Callaghan-trained #2 Harvest Moon (6-1) had an excellent 2020 campaign, winning a pair of graded stakes which preceded a fine fourth-place result in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland. By Uncle Mo, the four-year-old has been forwardly placed before backing up in both of her attempts this season, but there is still plenty of reason for optimism with the filly.

Harvest Moon has been training in steady fashion since early September in advance of her comeback, and it’s worth noting that she broke her maiden in her lone prior run at Los Alamitos. The accomplished Kentucky-bred goes out for a barn that is good off the shelf, and I expect the bay to fire a big shot at a square price beneath Mike Smith.

#7 Moonlight d’Oro (4-1) looked like the top three-year-old filly in California when taking the Las Virgenes S. (G3) in February, but she had a setback and didn’t reappear until November at Del Mar. Conditioned by Richard Mandella, the sophomore filly was second in her comeback outing but will be much tighter for this endeavor second time back.

The Kentucky-bred bay was a superb maiden winner on this strip when earning a hefty 102 Brisnet Late Pace number en route to victory, and it would be no surprise if she ran a similar race on Sunday. Drayden Van Dyke will be in the stirrups.

Bob Baffert’s #1 As Time Goes By (2-1) is the morning-line choice, but she is a hard read to me. The speedy American Pharoah lass had been first or second in the initial six races of her career, only to have missed the board when outrun in three of her last four assignments, albeit in the Grade 1 ranks.

The Kentucky-bred broke her maiden on the oval, and since she does her best work when on the lead or forcing the tempo, she makes sense from the rail as the potential pacesetter under Prat. But her spotty form makes her difficult to put on top, especially at short odds.

Bayakoa Wagers

  • $10 win and place #2 Harvest Moon ($20)
  • $10 exacta box 2-7 ($20)
  • $3 trifecta box 1,2,7 ($18)

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