Santa Anita stakes spot plays for Feb. 5

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 4th, 2022

Three graded stakes tilts will highlight a fine day of racing at The Great Race Place on Saturday.

Race 1 – Thunder Road S. (G3)

One-mile test on the green attracted six, led by #1 Subconscious (8-5) who will make his four-year-old debut for Richard Mandella. The gelded son of Tapit is a Grade 2 winner on the course and appears to be best suited to the mile trip after tiring late in the Hollywood Derby (G1) most recently. Bred in Kentucky, the dark bay possesses excellent tactical speed in a mostly paceless affair, and he should get a fine trip from the rail under the guidance of Juan Hernandez.

Race 6 – Santa Monica S. (G2)

Fillies and mares will travel seven-eighths on the dirt with a compact field of five set to go postward. I am not sure that any can upend Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) queen #2 Ce Ce (3-5) if she is ready to fire her best shot while making her seasonal bow.

But, Baffert’s #3 Merneith (7-2) makes just her second start since December of 2020 and could be a major player with a clean break from the gate in this dash. The American Pharoah mare dominated this race last season with a pace pressing trip to the top of the stretch, and she figures to receive a similar voyage this time around. She has been training in swift fashion on the course in advance of Saturday.

Race 8 – San Pasqual S. (G2)

A well-matched field of six will travel nine panels on the main strip in what is a difficult handicapping assignment. 2020 San Antonio S. (G2) winner #1 Kiss Today Goodbye (15-1) is wildly inconsistent overall, but the Cairo Prince five-year-old is capable of running huge on occasion, and I have to play him at an inflated morning-line price. The one-run closer has endured prior success on the Santa Anita strip, and his latest offering was simply too bad to be taken seriously. The dark bay will be saving ground every step of the way under the guidance of Abel Cedillo.