Santa Anita: How to bet the American Pharoah Stakes
A total of eight juveniles will travel 1 1/16 miles on the Santa Anita dirt in Saturday’s $300,000 American Pharoah S. (G1). The Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” tilt will be led by four entrants from the mighty Bob Baffert barn.
Of the quartet, I will give top billing to #8 Hejazi (5-2) in his first route attempt. By Bernardini, the Zedan Racing color bearer fetched a bid of a whopping $3.55 million in the spring and has flashed considerable potential despite being runner-up in his first pair of assignments. The Empire State-bred has yet to run beyond 5 1/2 furlongs but is bred to do so, and I believe that his running style is conducive to two turns, as well.
Hejazi registered a substantial 101 Brisnet Speed figure in his latest voyage and has trained well in the interim, led by a bullet half-mile drill last weekend in advance of his local bow. Regular rider Mike Smith will be in the stirrups and stalking the pace atop the prospect with intent early on.
Del Mar Futurity (G1) star #5 Cave Rock (4-5) has yet to be headed from a pair of fantastic performances to date. By champion Arrogate, the dark bay two-year-old ran arguably the best juvenile race of the season last time out, and if he repeats that showing, then the March foal might be impossible to knock off.
Cave Rock, in my opinion, doesn’t need the lead to win and will always be prominent under the guidance of Juan Hernandez. The colt has always trained well on this surface and will be fit following a pair of strong morning moves as of late, too.
I find it interesting that the blinkers will be removed following a smart debut victory posted by Baffert’s #6 National Treasure (6-1). Purchased for $500,000 as a yearling, the son of Quality Road did little wrong at first asking and is cut out to be a route horse for sure, so he is one to keep an eye on down the road, and into next season, as well. I am not certain that he is ready to peak in his second career attempt, but I will still include the intriguing prospect with Ramon Vazquez taking the reins.
American Pharoah Wagers
$12 win and place: #8 Hejazi ($24)
$8 exacta box: 5 with 8 ($16)
$2 trifecta box: 5,6,8 ($12)