Stakes spot plays at Santa Anita for June 20

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

June 19th, 2021

A total of four black-type races, with two of the graded variety, will headline a big day of racing at The Great Race Place.

Race 4 -- Fasig-Tipton Futurity S.

Two-year-old males get the stakes action underway in a five-furlong dash on the main surface. Budding juvenile conditioner Luis Mendez will send out three of the five in the field, led by smashing debut winner #3 Big City Lights, who earned a whopping 105 Brisnet Speed figure at first asking.

The Mr. Big colt is the obvious one to beat, although I do have intrigue in Mendez’s debuter #5 Buehler’s Day Off. The $50,000 son of Anchor Down gets a fine post outside of his foes, and if he runs to his rapid gate drill last time, then he makes sense under Maldonado. If the Kentucky-bred takes early money, I feel that he is worth taking a chance on.

Race 7 -- American S. (G3)

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Neptune's Storm wins the San Francisco Mile (Photo by Vassar Photography)

A field of six will go postward in the one-mile turf endeavor. Grade 2 victor #3 Neptune’s Storm is the class of the field and makes his first run since coming to the Peter Miller shedrow. The gelded son of Stormy Atlantic has won four times on the local turf and will be especially tough to beat in this spot with Prat taking the reins. The bay looks like a sturdy single for the multi-race exotics.

Race 8 -- Fasig-Tipton Debutante S.

There will be an abundance of pace in the five-horse field of juvenile fillies that makes this an interesting wagering opportunity. I will give top billing to Mendez’s #5 Royal O’Haigain from the outside. The bay daughter of El Deal overcame a tricky rail post on debut to waltz home an easy winner at 4-5 odds, and I really like her three morning drills since. The $35,000 yearling purchase is a May foal who figures to improve second time out.

Race 9 -- Wilshire S. (G3)

Fillies and mares will go one mile on the green in the final stakes event of the afternoon. John Sadler’s #7 Stela Star displayed a big turn of foot in her pair of stateside races last campaign, and the four-year-old looms a huge chance with expected progression off the shelf on Sunday. The Group 3 heroine shows a long string of morning moves in anticipation of her four-year-old bow, and she figures to receive a healthy pace to rally into, as well. The Irish-bred gets Prat to ride, which is always a major positive.