How to bet the 2022 Santa Barbara Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 12th, 2022

A compact field of six fillies and mares will travel 1 1/2 miles on the Santa Anita lawn in Saturday’s $125,000 Santa Barbara S. (G3). Defending champ #4 Neige Blanche (9-5) has run two strong races this season and I will tab the mare to repeat in the event.

Trained by Leonard Powell, the five-year-old has been a smart performer since she arrived in the states while posting some fine finishes along the way, which includes a pair of graded tallies in 2021 as well as a victory in the Astra S. (G3) on the course and at the distance in January.

Neige Blanche is two-for-two at the trip and comes off of a fine third-place result in the Santa Ana S. (G3) at 10 panels, in what looks like a perfect prep race to me. The Anodin chestnut has been well handled by a conditioner who is having a very good meeting, and the French-bred miss seems poised to continue that good run on Saturday. I expect her to track a slow pace from third early on before taking command late beneath regular pilot Juan Hernandez.

#1 Queen Goddess (6-5) will take much of the money in the affair, and deservedly so, for conditioner Mike McCarthy. The Empire Maker four-year-old bagged the American Oaks (G1) on the dirt in the fall, and her recent Santa Ana S. (G3) tally was decisive, as well. The lightly raced dark bay holds an apparent pace edge on many of her foes with her ample early foot from the advantageous rail post. But, I feel that she will be overbet in her first try at 1 1/2 miles. Victor Espinoza will be in the silks.

#6 Carpe Vinum (7-2) is the only other contender in the field that I have any confidence in at the 12-furlong distance. Trained by the always dangerous Phil D’Amato, the chestnut five-year-old had a solid recent prep on the course in advance of Saturday, and the mare has often run well at Santa Anita. The Kentucky-bred will have Abel Cedillo in the silks and be making her move approaching the turn for home.

Santa Barbara Wagers

  • $30 win #4 Neige Blanche ($30)
  • $15 trifecta 4 with 1 with 6 ($15)
  • $5 trifecta 4 with 6 with 1 ($5)