Santa Anita: How to bet the 2023 La Canada Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 13th, 2023

A total of six fillies and mares will vie in Sunday’s $200,000 La Canada S. (G3) at Santa Anita. Conditioner Bob Baffert has the two main players in the field, and I expect the race to come down to that duo late.

#3 Ganadora is the speed of the speed and gets the nod to take the group all the way on the front end with John Velazquez. By Quality Road, the $1 million yearling purchase is 3-for-5 lifetime while flashing a world of ability on a few occasions, and she seems poised on the stretch-out in distance while making her third start since June.

The Kentucky-bred filly contested a fast pace before ultimately giving way late when fifth in the recent La Brea S. (G1) on the course, but I’ve always thought that the miss was more suited to route racing. While the field does boast multiple contenders that like to run from a forwardly placed position, it seems likely to me that the four-year-old will clear them early and dictate things from the opening bell. Ganadora signaled her readiness for the affair with a bullet five-furlong drill on Monday.

#6 Under the Stars has not been in stellar form of late, but the Baffert pupil still deserves a lot of respect being a dual Grade 2 heroine on the oval. The four-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile was outrun at seven-eighths in the La Brea in her latest endeavor but will surely improve off that performance on the move to 1 1/16 miles.

The four-year-old has won from off the pace in the past and will likely sit just off the early tempo to the top of the lane on Sunday. Kentucky-bred bay has trained well this campaign and will be the main danger late if she runs to her works. Juan Hernandez will be in the silks.

For the lower rungs of the gimmicks, I’ll give Paddy Gallagher’s #2 Angel Nadeshiko a chance at a graded stakes placing. Carpe Diem four-year-old has won or placed in each of her five previous engagements at The Great Race Place and returns to the dirt following a failed turf experiment. The bay filly has excellent gate presence and will never be too far back with Victor Espinoza taking the reins.

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