Santa Anita: Stakes spot plays for Dec. 26

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 26th, 2021

A total of six graded stakes races, with three of the Grade 1 variety, headline a bonanza opening-day card at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Race 5 – San Gabriel S. (G2)

The nine-furlong turf endeavor has attracted seven and I will tab #6 Red Storm Risen (4-1) for the minor upset. The Stormy Atlantic gelding has been in solid form throughout the year and appears to be peaking at the moment. This versatile sort dominated allowance foes at Del Mar most recently and seems poised to pick up his first stakes win beneath top gun Flavien Prat.

Race 6 – San Antonio S. (G2)

It’s hard to look past logical favorite and Grade 1 winner #4 Hot Rod Charlie (6-5), but if one horse can defeat him on Sunday, I think that defending champ #6 Kiss Today Goodbye (5-1) will be the one to do it. Trained by Eric Kruljac, the stout late runner likes the surface and had a fine prep for Sunday when runner-up in the Native Diver (G3) last time out. The Cairo Prince colt will have a swift pace to rally at down the lane with Kent Desormeaux up.

Race 8 – La Brea S. (G1)

Morning-line choice #4 Private Mission (8-5), one of two for Bob Baffert in the affair, gives the look of a single in a field that came up relatively soft this season. The Grade 2-winning daughter of Into Mischief is swift enough to lead early if she is sent in a race lacking true early speed, or she can track the early proceedings prior to outclassing her rivals in the lane. I would be surprised if the bay, who is three-for-three at Santa Anita, gets knocked off under Prat.

Race 11 – American Oaks (G1)

I don’t know if #7 Burgoo Alley (6-1) has the class to defeat each contender in the affair, but I like her chances to register a top-three finish if she is sent early on the stretch out in distance. The recent Autumn Miss S. (G3) victress has the pace figures to clear the cast soon after the break, and she can get very brave if she’s allowed to establish a soft early tempo. Regular pilot Umberto Rispoli stays in the silks aboard the daughter of Footstepsinthesand for trainer Phil d’Amato.

Article Image

Burgoo Alley and jockey Umberto Rispoli, outside, outleg Spanish Lover (Abel Cedillo), inside, to win the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes, Saturday, October 30, 2021 at Santa Anita Park. (Photo by Benoit Photography)