Santa Anita: How to bet the 2021 Gamely Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 30th, 2021

Handicapping the $300,000 Gamely S. (G1) on Memorial Day at Santa Anita boils down to one key question—can the favorite handle the distance?

Nine fillies and mares have been entered in the 1 1/8-mile turf test, all of them proven graded stakes winners. Many bettors will side with #2 Charmaine’s Mia (8-5), who enters in ultra-hot form for Santa Anita’s leading trainer (Phil D’Amato) and jockey (Flavien Prat). But victory isn’t guaranteed for the daughter of The Factor.

Is the distance too long for Charmaine’s Mia?

Charmaine’s Mia has gone undefeated in three starts since transferring to D’Amato’s care. The five-year-old mare has developed into a speedy pace player this season, dominating the six-furlong Las Cienegas (G3) by 2 1/2 lengths before stretching out over one mile to win the Buena Vista (G2) and Royal Heroine (G2).

In the latter two races, Charmaine’s Mia put her tactical speed to good use, carving out sub-1:10 six-furlong splits before holding on to win. But Charmaine’s Mia was losing ground down the homestretch over the Royal Heroine, where her lead shrank from two lengths at the eighth pole to just half a length at the finish line. Stretching out over 1 1/8 miles in the Gamely is a meaningful question mark for Charmaine’s Mia, who looks more like a sprinter/miler than a true route runner.

Maxim Rate can outrun expectations at a price

If you’re willing to oppose Charmaine’s Mia, then #7 Maxim Rate (5-1) is an appealing alternative.

Conditioned by Simon Callaghan, Maxim Rate was in strong form last season, sandwiching victories in the one-mile Goldikova (G2) and 1 3/8-mile CTT and TOC S. around a runner-up effort in the 1 1/4-mile Rodeo Drive (G1). Maxim Rate is versatile when it comes to distance preferences, and tackling 1 1/8 miles in the Gamely should suit her just fine.

Maxim Rate enters off a pair of fifth-place efforts, but in both cases there were extenuating circumstances. In the Matriarch (G1) last November, Maxim Rate ran into traffic down the homestretch, but was only beaten two lengths against a tough field. Then in the April 10 Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, Maxim Rate raced wide over an unfamiliar yielding turf course before fading in her first start off the 4 1/2-month break.

How to bet the Gamely

Maxim Rate figures to be sharper for her second start of the season, and returning to firm turf can help her rebound at a fair price. We’ll bet Maxim Rate to win and play her on top of exacta and trifecta tickets emphasizing Charmaine’s Mia underneath.

$20 to win on #7 Maxim Rate
$4 Exacta: 7 with 2
$1 Trifecta: 7 with 2 with 1,6,9 ($3)
$1 Trifecta: 7 with 1,6,9 with 2 ($3)
Total: $30

Good luck!