Presidents' Day stakes plays for Feb. 15

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 14th, 2021

A pair of stakes races will headline the racing action on Monday. One is a dirt sprint in the east, while the other pits turf dashers running on the lawn in the Golden State. And while neither tussle is likely to produce a hefty-priced winner, there is always value to be found if you correctly select the first-place finisher.

Here is how I will be playing the headline events:

Hollie Hughes S.

A compact field of five Empire State-breds will travel six furlongs in the Monday feature. #5 Amundson (5-2) won this race last season off the bench under Vargas, and I will tab the five-year-old to defend his crown, though we surely won’t be getting 15-1 odds again. The Horacio DePaz pupil went winless from a trio of starts following his triumph in 2020, but he is training well and receives a dream post outside of the small field, as well. Curlin gelding will force the action from second prior to inching clear late.

I will use the top pick over the pair of late runners in the field. Say Florida Sandy S. victor #3 Our Last Buck (9-5) and Hudson H. runner-up #2 Big Engine (5-1) will be closing in the stretch and battling for place honors.


  • $20 Win: #5 Amundson ($20)
  • $15 Exacta: 5 with 3 ($15)
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 2 ($5)

Wishing Well S.

A talented field of seven fillies and mares will trek 6 1/2 furlongs on the green in a competitive affair at Santa Anita. I love the recent morning drills by #6 Superstition (4-1) and will give the Mandella pupil another chance following a third-place result in the Las Cienegas S. (G3) most recently. Lightly raced Ghostzapper filly is yet to be a proven commodity at the stakes level, but she had excuses last time, and I love the way she is coming up to the grassy dash. Prat stays.

Grade 1 heroine #7 Oleksandra (9-5) and the consistently good #3 Lighthouse (5-2) are simply too talented not to have on my tickets. The former is a classy lass who clipped heels and dumped her jockey soon after the break last time out, while the latter continues to show fine ability for Callaghan.


  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 3,7 ($20)
  • $3 Trifecta Box: 3,6,7 ($18)