Turf stakes plays for Santa Anita on May 29
A pair of graded stakes tilts on the lawn will highlight the action at The Great Race Place on Saturday. Conditioner Richard Mandella and jockey Flavien Prat will team up with formidable foes that I will tab for success in each event.
Charles Whittingham S. (G2)
A compact, but strong, field of four will highlight the 1 1/4-mile turf test. #4 United got the perfect outside draw, he possesses very good versatility, and the star also dons a sharp 10-5-2-1 line on the Santa Anita lawn. A winner of this event in 2020, the chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway defeated the accomplished Say the Word in the San Luis Rey S. (G3) in his 2021 debut, and improvement is surely possible second time back. Prat will handle the Mandella trainee.
#3 Red King is a deep closer in a field with a trio of contenders who prefer to be close to the action early on, and I envision him getting the right trip to complete the exacta. Phil D’Amato trainee cuts back from the 1 1/2 miles he tried in his seasonal debut and will be coming on inside the final furlong with turf ace Rispoli in the stirrups.
- $30 exacta 4 with 3 ($30)
Daytona S. (G3)
A cast of five will dash 6 1/2 furlongs on the green in the $100,000 endeavor. Mandella’s #2 Bombard has run some big ones in his lightly raced career and appears to be sitting on another top effort in the Daytona. The eight-year-old son of War Front loves the local course with a 9-4-2-2 line at Santa Anita, and he will also be equipped with blinkers for his second assignment of 2021, as well. Bred in the Bluegrass State, the well-bred sort is training forwardly of late and is proven capable of winning from on or off the early tempo. Prat riding adds to the appeal.
#5 Commander has shown steady improvement since removing blinkers four back and is my choice to complete the exacta. Peter Miller pupil made a powerful late run to be second in an allowance test most recently, and the son of War Command should have a solid pace to run at in the stretch. Juan Hernandez inherits the mount.
- $30 win #2 Bombard ($30)
- $15 exacta 2 with 5 ($15)