Santa Anita: Value play for the Santa Ynez S.

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 7th, 2022

A compact, but talented, field of six sophomore fillies will vie in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Ynez S. (G3) at Santa Anita. The seven-furlong affair on the main surface will reward the top-four finishers with qualifying points on the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Oaks challenge series.

The Doug O’Neill-trained #5 Awake at Midnyte (3-1) has flashed considerable potential from two races to date and gets the upset nod in the tilt. The $320,000 yearling purchase was a game debut winner over the track on Oct. 31 when forcing the pace from the break and stubbornly getting up at odds of 6.50-1.

Sent to the stakes ranks and moved to the green for her second assignment, the daughter of Nyquist again tracked the early tempo from the opening bell, but this time fell just shy of the victory in what was a commendable runner-up showing in the Jimmy Durante S. (G3). The Kentucky-bred moves back to the dirt with a cut back in distance, and I like that she posted four morning drills locally in advance of Saturday.

Awake at Midnyte drew well while outside the two major dangers in the heat, and I envision her receiving a trip similar to her debut. Regular pilot Mario Gutierrez rides.

In addition to a win wager, I will also key her in the top slot for the vertical gimmicks. The well-bred #1 Under the Stars (8-5) was a convincing maiden winner third time out and rates an obvious chance for Baffert. Daughter of Pioneeerof the Nile will appreciate the added ground, as well as the cozy rail draw, with top gun Flavien Prat in the silks.

John Sadler’s #3 Big Switch (9-5) is 2-for-2 and exits a fine score in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. The California-bred daughter of Mr. Big has displayed a fine turn of foot in both of her starts, and she makes a lot of sense making her local debut.

And #6 Miss Mattie B (5-1) intrigues coming off of a fine turf tally in her first assignment sans blinkers for Bob Hess. Tonalist filly will hope for a fast and contested early tempo with Mike Smith riding the late runner.

Santa Ynez Wagers

  • $20 Win #5 Awake at Midnyte ($20)
  • $3 trifecta key 5 with 1,3,6 ($18)