How to bet the Santa Anita Sprint Championship

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TwinSpires Staff

October 7th, 2016


The Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) is just over four weeks away and what a race it is shaping up to be in 2016.
With Breeders' Cup Challenge winners A. P. Indian, Delta Bluesman, Joking and locally based Lord Nelson set to go in the Sprint, as well as the ultra-talented Drefong and Masochistic, it should be one of the strongest editions in some time.
Saturday's feature at Santa Anita is the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1). The "Win & You're In" race only drew five runners and is likely to have an extremely heavy favorite in the aforementioned Lord Nelson. Despite the compact group perhaps money can still be made in wagers involving the fourth race on Saturday's 10-race card.
#4 Lord Nelson is listed as 2-5 on Jon White's morning line and appears extremely tough to beat. The Bob Baffert conditioned son of Pulpit has rattled off three straight victories to start 2016, including Grade 1 wins in the Triple Bend and Bing Crosby. The Spendthrift Farm colt is clearly razor sharp, has had plenty of success over this surface and distance and has drawn well.
If Lord Nelson is to be upset, #1 All Run and #5 Jazzy Times appear to be the only two good enough to beat the heavy favorite.
Jazzy Times is the second of the uncoupled Bob Baffert entry. This three-year-old colt was all set to start in the King's Bishop (G1) at Saratoga on Travers Day, but had a foot bruise and was forced to scratch that morning. The son of Discreetly Mine has never taken on stakes company, but was extremely impressive against older runners when last seen on July 31 at Del Mar. He will be prominently placed early as the clear second choice. If he runs well in this spot it could be onward to the Breeders' Cup Sprint on November 5.
All Run is the most intriguing of the value options in Saturday's featured event. The Flower Alley gelding disappointed off the bench in last month's Pirate's Bounty at Del Mar after training forwardly for his return. Perhaps the Richard Baltas runner needed that race and will run back to his 2015 form in his first try against Grade 1 company.
#3 Cautious Giant has had success at Santa Anita and has taken on graded stakes company in five straight starts. He enters the Santa Anita Sprint Championship off a freshening from trainer Kristin Mulhall. I do not think he is good enough to win Saturday, but I would not be shocked if he picked up the pieces like he did in the Kona Gold (G2) and Palos Verdes (G2) earlier this year.
#2 Anytime Anyplace has not faced stakes company over the main track and appears overmatched in this spot.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is not an event that I will wager too much into in terms of in-race wagers, as value is difficult to find.
Here are my lone wagers for the event:
$50 Exacta 4-1 ($50)
$10 Exacta Box 1+4 ($20)
Total $70

I will focus the majority of my bankroll involving the Sprint Championship into horizontal wagers and hope to find some value around the extremely likely winner, Lord Nelson.
The race preceding the Sprint Championship is a maiden special weight affair for two-year-olds contested at one mile over the main track. I really like the look of a horse making his third start for Keith Desormeaux and Calumet Farm.
#2 Sonneteer goes two sprints to a route for the patient Desormeaux barn. In his last at Del Mar, he showed no early speed, but ran on rather well to finish a solid fourth. I think the two turns should move this son of Midnight Lute forward on Saturday. 9-2 seems like a very fair price.
#8 Camino de Estrella also intrigues me at 5-1 on the morning line. This Mineshaft colt goes two sprints to a route for trainer Tim Yakteen. The even running style in his two starts and his pedigree suggests that a route of ground should move this runner forward. I also like the action he took at the windows in both starts for a barn that rarely wins first out and second time out.
With the presence of a few big name barns, Sonneteer and Camino de Estrella should provide decent value in Race 3 making Daily Doubles and pick 3's worthwhile wagers.
Here are my suggested horizontal wagers commencing in Race 3:
$40 Daily Double 2-4 ($40)
$20 Daily Double 2+8 with 4 ($40)
$ 5 Pick 3 2 with 4 with 2+9+10 ($15)
$ 10 Pick 3 2+8 with 4 with 2+9 ($40)
Total $135

I wish we had a bigger field to work with for Saturday's feature, but I will do my best to bet squarely and profit off a heavy favorite.

(Benoit Photos)