How to bet the 2022 Santa Margarita Stakes
A well-matched field of fillies and mares will vie in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita S. (G2) at Santa Anita, one of four graded tilts on the fine card. Nine will go postward in the 1 1/8-mile affair in a field that is lacking a standout, in my opinion.
I have liked the progression made by the John Sadler-trained #4 Park Avenue (7-2) since she stretched out to route races, and I will tab the speedy sort for the top prize in her third graded attempt. By Quality Road, the talented bay has run into some of the better horses on the grounds this season and lands in a much more manageable spot on this occasion.
Park Avenue has won or placed in three of her four local tries, and she had a very good prep for this affair when leading at every call in a facile allowance triumph on the grass while making her turf debut. The $450,000 yearling purchase will handle the distance with ease, and she might take the lead early on with regular pilot Juan Hernandez in the silks, as well. The four-year-old filly shows four solid morning drills on the oval in advance of this endeavor.
Bayakoa S. (G3) queen #9 Miss Bigly (5-2) is the sure one to beat despite being perched on the outside of the field for conditioner Phil D’Amato. By Gemologist, the consistently very good mare has won or placed in at least 10 straight events, the last eight of which came in the stakes ranks, including a strong runner-up performance in the Beholder Mile S. (G1) on the surface in her latest venture.
Miss Bigly likes the venue, she ran well in her prior nine-furlong attempt, and her form couldn’t be much better leading up to Saturday. The Kentucky-bred six-year-old has fine tactical speed and will track the tempo while forwardly placed through with Ramon Vazquez retaining the mount. She is a must-use.
#7 Varda (4-1) is a Grade 1 heroine with obvious talent, but I don't fancy her chances to make the top-two in this spot. The Distorted Humor four-year-old makes just her second start in more than 15 months, and I feel that she could use more seasoning before running nine panels against these.
Santa Margarita Wagers