Saturday stakes selections for Santa Anita

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 5th, 2021

A total of four graded stakes events top a fine Saturday card at Santa Anita. The black-type headliners didn’t attract big fields, and while the horses that I have sided with are not massive prices, they could prove important singles for your exotics wagers at the very least.

Here is my analysis for each of the competitive stakes races:

San Vicente S. (G2)

A handful of sophomores will travel seven-eighths on the dirt in the $200,000 contest. Each horse in the field comes in off of a win, but I am most intrigued with the returning #1 Freedom Fighter (5-2) for Bob Baffert. Violence second timer led throughout while going five panels at Del Mar in August, and he is training rapidly in preparation of his three-year-old unveiling. Drayden Van Dyke will send the fleet colt to lead from the break.

San Marcos S. (G2)

The 1 1/4-mile turf test attracted only six, but it still appears to be a good betting race with contenders throughout the cast. The well-bred #2 Masteroffoxhounds (5-2) caught the eye when dominating first-level allowance foes in his second try on U.S. green most recently. Richard Baltas youngster has trained well in the interim, and I feel that he has the most upside of any contender in the cast. Rosario riding is always a bonus.

Las Virgenes S. (G3)

I am on the #3 Moonlight d’Oro (1-1) bandwagon following her stylish win at Los Alamitos for Richard Mandella. The $620,000 yearling purchase has a very high ceiling, and I expect her to get a dream trip behind a contested early pace on Saturday. Flavien Prat retains the mount atop the serious prospect.

Thunder Road S. (G3)

Peter Miller has a pair of major contenders in the field, and I have an affinity for both. But due to an expected swift and contested pace in the one-mile turf fray, I will stand pat with #8 Hembree (7-2). A Grade 2 winner off the claim on the course last time out, the seven-year-old son of Proud Citizen has a fine turn of foot and will receive a favorable set up in his second for the barn.