How to bet the Santa Margarita Stakes
A compact field of five will head to post in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita S. (G2) at The Great Race Place. The feature of an 11-race card attracted a pair of nice four-year-olds that figure to be prominent throughout the stakes ranks in the Golden State for the duration of the season. And it looks to be a potential match race with the favorites.
I have a slight preference for #4 Harvest Moon (2-1) for conditioner Simon Callaghan. By Uncle Mo, the talented filly got very good in the second half of her three-year-old campaign, with tallies in the Zenyatta S. (G2) and Torrey Pines S. (G3) her top triumphs. In the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 7, Harvest Moon established the early lead and held on stubbornly to finish a creditable fourth.
While the Kentucky-bred didn’t put her best foot forward when a sluggish fourth in the Beholder Mile (G1) off the layoff, she stretches out to 1 1/8 miles and has a tactical edge on her foes on Saturday. Flavien Prat will put the top pick on the lead, or forcing the pace from second, and her best performance will make her tough to beat in the stretch under the leading pilot on the grounds.
#2 As Time Goes By (3-5) is bred to be great, and she is coming to hand in rapid fashion for Bob Baffert. The daughter of American Pharoah didn’t break her maiden until December, but she dominated allowance foes by nine lengths in her first start with winners, which preceded a fine runner-up finish in the Beholder Mile while making her stakes debut.
The filly, who is out of Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, continues to train in strong fashion this season and seems likely to handle the move to nine furlongs with ease on Saturday. Mike Smith retains the mount atop the budding star.
I am having an impossible time looking past the top duo in the field. Even if the two knock heads from the opening bell, they each possess enough talent to travel smartly through the finish line.
Santa Margarita Wager
- $30 exacta: 4 with 2 ($30)