Player Quick Pick: Santa Anita for 2/14/2015

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

February 14th, 2015

The feature at Santa Anita on Saturday, Feb. 14, is the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes. 9 entrants will contest the 1-1/16 mile distance of the race. It’s a fitting event for Valentine’s Day since the Santa Maria is for fillies and mares. Which one of these lovely ladies figures to give horseplayer’s a big Valentine kiss of profits?

Santa Anita Race 8 at 7:05 pm ET

G2 Santa Maria Stakes 4&Up F&M going 1-1/16 mi.

2 – Thegirlinthatsong – 5/2 – It looks like there is a ton of early speed in this race, which could set things up perfectly for this pressing daughter of My Golden Song. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by top Santa Anita jockey Rafael Bejarano, Thegirlinthatsong won the Grade 2 La Canada over the Santa Anita dirt by 4.25 lengths. She pummeled Lexi Lou and JoJo Warrior. The freshening, after a very good second in the Zia Park Oaks in November, appears to have done wonders for this filly. She looked bigger in the La Canada and even though she was supposed to be tested for class, My Golden Song charges a whopping $4,000 stud fee; she handled her competition with ease. She should make it 2 in a row on Feb. 14.

1- Yahilwa – 5/1 – This five-year-old mare needed a vacation after a disappointing sixth place finish in the Bayakoa after going off at $1.90 to 1 odds. The Bayakoa was run at Los Alamitos. Some horses haven’t taken to the new track over at Los Al. She might be one of those horses. Yahilwa has 2 wins and a second place finish out of 8 races over Santa Anita’s dirt. She also picks up a new rider in hall-of-famer Gary Stevens who has only been aboard 53 mounts during this meet but has a decent 9-7-9 record with those mounts. Gary should be able to track the speed about a length off before searching for room around the turn. Knowing Gary, he won’t have any trouble finding it. Yahilwa presents the overlay in the race if she goes off close to her morning line odds.

6 – Warren’s Veneda – 2/1 – The morning line chalk was exceptional in the $75,000 Paseana Stakes when beating her competition, including Tastes Like Candy, by 5.5 lengths. Before that victory, she had finished second by a head in the Grade 2 Bayakoa to the Bob Baffert trained Tiz Midnight. The Craig Lewis trainee has tactical speed to stay close if need be, but she can also close if the pace is too fast. The work on February 5, 5 furlongs in 59.4, was the best out of 52. Jockey Tyler Baze rides again, which is a good sign since Tyler appears to have gotten to know her well. The ability to run any style that the race warrants makes her a formidable favorite in the Santa Maria Stakes on Saturday, but putting money on her nose at low odds doesn’t seem prudent.