New Year's Day stakes places for Santa Anita
A quartet of graded stakes races will highlight a superb card at The Great Race Place on Saturday.
Race 6 – Joe Hernandez S. (G2)
A well-matched field of seven will dash 6 1/2 grassy furlongs in the first black-type race of the day. #5 Commander (3-1) has fine current form and comes off a huge runner-up try at Del Mar last time out. A stylish winner in his most recent run on the course, War Command gelding drew a good post and should receive a good trip under Hernandez.
Race 7 – Sham S. (G3)
As mentioned in the Sham Stakes Tipsheet, I am siding with proven turf performer #1 Mackinnon (3-1) to handle the surface change and make good in this heat for Doug O’Neill.
Race 8 – Robert J. Frankel S. (G2)
I feel that #7 Luck (8-5) will get the right trip in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair with Prat in the stirrups. Baltas import has been sharp from three races since arriving in the U. S., and the daughter of Kitten’s Joy has also been unlucky not to have won each of those events. Stuck behind slow paces in her two latest ventures, the chestnut figures to get a more realistic pace to run at on Saturday.
Race 9 – La Canada S. (G3)
A very competitive group will go postward in the 1 1/16-mile contest on the main strip. Baffert’s #6 As Time Goes By (8-5) is the class of the field and also is perfectly drawn outside of the compact field. The well-bred daughter of American Pharoah sports a 6-3-3-0 mark on the oval, and she will be forcing the action while clear throughout beneath Prat.
#2 Cowboys Daughter (10-1) is a class question mark in the affair, but she has won four in succession since being claimed and will be a nice price, as well. The five-year-old Hampton Court mare was a game allowance victress at Los Alamitos two back, proving that she can handle the dirt, and her early speed will have her well placed to the top of the lane under Frey.