Stakes Spot Plays for Santa Anita on May 28

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 27th, 2022

A handful of black-type races for Golden State-bred runners will highlight a fine afternoon of racing at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Race 3: Crystal Water S.

The one-mile turf contest attracted six in a race lacking a true standout. #6 Hail Freedom (5-1) has appeal to me on the stretch out. The Doug O’Neill pupil has been consistently solid sprinting on the lawn in 2022 since adding blinkers, and it’s realistic to think that he will negotiate eight furlongs with a pace-pressing trip under Mike Smith.

Race 4: Thor’s Echo S.

The six-furlong dash attracted a compact field of five, and I will look outside with my selection in #5 Good With People (5-2). The four-year-old colt was good at two and three, and I expect the Curlin to Mischief colt to prosper off the long layoff for Ruben Alvarado. Ramon Vazquez will be up.

Race 5: Snow Chief S.

A total of six sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles on the turf in this endeavor. I believe that #6 Smuggler’s Run (2-1) has the most raw talent in the field for John Sadler. The Straight Fire gelding has yet to run a route of ground, but he’s a stakes winner who has proven to be versatile on the main strip and the sod, and I trust the connections’ decision to place him in this particular race. Joe Bravo will be in the stirrups.

Race 8: Melair S.

The affair for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt looks to be a great spot for #2 Big Switch (8-5). The Sadler trainee is unplaced in her last pair but has excuses for each, and I look for the dark bay filly to rebound in a big way on Saturday. The daughter of Mr. Big will save ground to the top of the lane with Juan Hernandez riding.

Race 9: Fran’s Valentine S.

Fillies and mares will run eight panels on the green in the finale. #5 Alice Marble (4-5) has been quite good since joining Philip D’Amato in April of 2021, going 4-for-7 with three placings for this outfit. The Grazen mare has been solely a sprinter to this stage of her career, but the five-year-old has class and gives the impression of a mare that can handle middle distances in the right situation. I would feel good to have her as a single to close out the card.