Santa Anita stakes plays for April 3

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 2nd, 2021

A six-pack of stakes contests, led by the Santa Anita Derby (G1), will headline a blockbuster Saturday of racing at The Great Race Place.

Santa Anita Oaks (G2)

#5 Beautiful Gift (9-5) is far from a value play at her morning-line number, but the well-bred bay has the look for a future star for Baffert. Medaglia d’Oro homebred was all heart in her Santa Ysabel S. (G3) tally, and she will only improve with experience and additional distance.

The pace scenario might not be perfectly in her favor, but I do expect the filly to take the next step Saturday from the outside post slot. John Velazquez riding is a good thing, too.

Royal Heroine S. (G2)

Eight fillies and mares will travel a mile on the sod in a well-matched affair. #4 Warren’s Showtime (8-1) loves both the surface and the distance for Craig Lewis. Consistently good Clubhouse Ride filly will receive an honest early pace to rally into late with Juan Hernandez in the silks.

Providencia S. (G3)

Sophomore fillies will travel nine panels on the green in a nice affair. #5 Royal Address (12-1) is a candidate to improve in a big way in her second U.S. run at a square number. Drysdale trainee broke slow in a six-furlong dash in her seasonal bow, but she stretches out and removes the blinkers for Saturday. Dandy Man filly will get the jump on the deep closers under Gutierrez.

Evening Jewel S.

The 6 1/2-furlong dash for California-bred three-year-old fillies has nine on board, including my favorite value play of the day, #8 Pawnee (8-1). The Mr. Big miss is two-for-two on the dirt, including a fine allowance tally at a mile last time out. I love the cutback in distance on Saturday, as well as the presence of Johnnie V. The sophomore will get a good trip stalking the pace while in the clear throughout.

Echo Eddie S.

The finale features 11 California-breds at 6 1/2 panels on the dirt. I looked for a contender that could upend morning-line choice #3 The Chosen Vron (8-5), but failed to find that runner. Trained by Eric Kruljac, the gelding impressed on debut and then finished third in the San Vicente S. (G2) in a race captured by the sensational Concert Tour. I can’t look past his latest effort, and will instead single him to close out the big day of action.