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Santa Anita Stakes Recaps for Friday (9-26-20)

Chillingworth Stakes – Winner: Into Chocolate ($19.60)

Into Chocolate was my value top choice and he gamely got the job done. Qahira and Amuse battled on the pace and it looked like they might go 1-2 all the way around, but they started to come back to the others in the lane. Into Chocolate was in a good stalking spot behind the two early runners and was able to wear them down to win by a bit less than a length under Umberto Rispoli. Qahira held 2nd by a neck over Amuse, and Hang a Star was a 1/2 length behind those two. Mucho Amor was 5+ lengths behind the rest.

Eddie D Stakes (G2) – Winner: Big Runnuer ($5.00)

Big Runnuer was my top choice and he won this race out of the gate. Kudos to Juan Hernandez for getting aggressive and sending the favorite right to the front from the outside post. He was well clear throughout and was never in any danger of losing this race. Wildman Jack chased from the inside post, steered wide in the lane, and finished nicely in a length defeat. Grit and Curiosity was an even 3rd and Sparky Ville was a neck behind that one in 4th. El Tigre Terrible lagged far behind early and passed tired chasers Give Me the Lute and Mr Vargas.

Santa Anita Full Card Highlights for Friday (9-25-20)
SA 2 TROUVILLE ($8.40), Exacta ($41.50)
Double (races 1-2, $66.20)
SA 3 PSYCHO DAR ($14.60)
Double (races 2-3, $80.40)
Pick 3 (races 1-3, $130.10)
Double (races 3-4, $56.40)
Pick 3 (races 2-4, $68.20)
Pick 3 (races 3-5, $114.35)
SA 6 INTO CHOCOLATE ($19.60), Exacta ($22.20)
Double (races 5-6, $119.60)
Pick 3 (races 4-6, $122.85)
SA 7 BIG RUNNUER (SA Best Bet #1, $5.00), Exacta ($7.40)
Double (races 6-7, $70.40)
Pick 3 (races 5-7, $168.20)
SA 8 Fratelli/Zorich/Nesbitt Trifecta ($37.70)
Double (races 7-8, $15.60)
Pick 3 (races 6-8, $47.70)
Pick 3 (races 7-9, $10.00)


Santa Anita Stakes Recaps for Saturday (9-26-20)

Unzip Me Stakes – Winner: Bulletproof One ($5.40)

Bulletproof One was just too fleet for her opponents in this 5.5 furlong turf dash. She opened up at one and was quickly a length and a half in front, and it was game, set, and match after the opening quarter. She was in complete command throughout and scored by 2-1/2 lengths. My top choice Aqua Seaform Shame stalked the pace and went by pace presser Biddy Duke to secure the place. Mind Out was an even 4th and Blue Sky Baby was behind her. Parkour, Moonhall Milly, and Powerfulattraction trailed.

Chandelier (G2) – Winner: Princess Noor ($2.40)

Princess Noor was miles the best on paper and in real time. Bob Baffert’s filly stalked the pace, took over the lead, and powered home by 8+ lengths under Victor Espinoza, and her stablemate Varda was 9+ clear of show finisher Miss Costa Rica. Baffert maiden Illumination set the pace and weakened to 4th, and New York shipper Make Mischief trailed throughout. Visually, the winner was outstanding, but she did not run very fast from a speed figure standpoint. The raw final time for 8.5f was 1:45.59.

Speakeasy Stakes – Winner: Amanzi Yimpilo ($7.20)

In this turf dash stakes for juveniles, Saratoga invader Amanzi Yimpilo chased the pace and held off my top choice Wyfire to score by a head. Longshot Windy City Red was up for 3rd and beaten favorite Commander Khai completed the superfecta. No Pedigree, The Great One, Basque Man, Feathers, and Fury Kap also ran.

Rodeo Drive (G1) – Winner: Mucho Unusual ($8.80)

I picked Mucho Unusual on top because I thought she would sit a nice forwardly placed trip in a race without much pace. Tonahutu briefly went to the front but did not seem really intent on setting the pace, so Juan Hernandez just went on with it aboard Mucho Unusual, and she never seriously threatened in a pace aided length and a quarter victory. Maxim rate stalked the pace and held 2nd by a length over pace compromised late running beaten favorite Lady Prancealot. Tomahutu weakened to 4th and Pretty Point and Catch the Eye trailed.

American Pharoah Stakes (G1) – Winner: Get Her Number ($18.20)

This race was disappointing and not because my top choice failed to win. This was just not a fast race and a pair of surface switchers surprisingly dominated. Dyn O Mite was the longest shot on the board and he carved out the early fractions. Get Her Number chased from 2nd under Flavien Prat and he struck the front at the six furlong mark. He got some daylight by a length and a half and held off slow breaking late runner Rombauer. The latter was last for the opening half-mile and put in a rice sustained run to finish a clear 2nd. Spielberg was the favorite for Bob Baffert, and he stalked the pace and had no answer in the lane while best of the rest in 3rd. My top choice Waspirant raced wide throughout from the outside post and moved into 3rd with a couple of furlongs to go, but he flattened out and was well behind the top three in a very strung out field. Dyne’s O Mite was at least seven lengths behind the 4th place finisher, and it was another six lengths back to Touchdown Brown. The distant trailer was Notable Exception. The Arlington Park shipper broke slow, chased, and retreated. The final running time for this 8.5f contest was 1:44.92.

John Henry Turf Championship (G2) – Winner: United ($3.40)

United simply outclassed this group. He is one of the most consistent, versatile long distance turf runners we have seen in this country in quite some time, and in this faceless race, Flavien Prat put him on the lead and it was over as soon as the gates opened. United controlled proceedings from the outset through moderate splits and scored by a comfortable length and a half. Originaire stalked the pace and just held the place over 61-1 outsider Another Mystery. Proud Pedro saved ground and passed a couple of runners to complete the superfecta. Oscar Dominguez was behind him and Salvator Mundi and Next Shared both chased and retreated. Can United win the BC Turf? He certainly might, especially if none of the top overseas invaders ship to Keeneland.

Awesome Again (G1) – Winner: Improbable ($5.60)

I picked Improbable on top because he figured to be helped immensely by the fast early/slow late race shape. The much improved, versatile 4-year-old was the only true closer in this 5-horse field. Take the One O One broke on top from the rail and set lively fractions as a 59-1 longshot. Charles Town Classic (G2) winner Sleepy Eyes Todd chased from 2nd and race favorite Maximum Security was in close pursuit from the outside post. Midcourt was right with the leading group and Improbable sat at the back of the pack all by himself. The latter rallied wide around the far turn and blew the race wide open quickly. His 3-length lead rapidly increased to 4-1/2 lengths at the wire and he was clearly much the best in this spot. Maximum Security outfinished Midcourt for the place and Take the One O One and Sleepy Eyes Todd trailed. A few observations about this race. Improbable was the most likely winner on paper and the race set up perfectly for him. He is a solid contender for the BC Classic but is hardly a lock. As for Maximum Security, he is not the same horse we saw when he was in the controversial Jason Servis barn. His winning San Diego (G2) return for Bob Baffert was average at best, and they just handed him the Pacific Classic (G1) on a silver platter. Think of it this way, he finished a nose in front of Midcourt in the San Diego and a half-length in front of that runner in this race. How good do you think Midcourt is? I believe he is G2 to G3 class at best, and that seems to be where Maximum Security stands currently. That won’t get it done in the BC Classic.

Santa Anita Full Card Highlights for Saturday (9-26-20)
SA 1 Bulletproof One/Aqua Seaform Shame Exacta ($12.20)
SA 2 SHEZA GIRLY GIRL (SA Best Bet #1, $7.80), Exacta ($8.00), Trifecta ($18.00)
Double (races 1-2, $23.00)
Double (races 2-3, $9.40)
Pick 3 (races 1-3, $7.15)
Double (races 3-4, $8.20)
Pick 3 (races 2-4, $9.90)
SA 5 Amanzi Yimpilo/Wyfire Exacta (SA Best Bet #2, $13.20)
Pick 3 (races 3-5, $9.40)
Early Pick 4 (races 2-5, $37.85)
SA 7 MUCHO UNUSUAL (SA Best Bet #3, $8.80)
SA 9 UNITED ($3.40), Superfecta ($23.96)
SA 10 IMPROBABLE ($5.60), Exacta ($4.40)
Double (races 9-10, $12.20)
SA 11 INGEST ($3.60)
Double (races 10-11, $18.20)
Pick 3 (races 9-11, $7.75)
$5 Golden Hour Double (SA 11 + GG 10, $45.00)
BEL 8 VIADERA ($13.00), Exacta ($47.60)
Double (races 8-9, $47.20)


​Santa Anita Stakes Recaps for Sunday (9-27-20)

Zenyatta Stakes (G2) – Winner: Harvest Moon ($9.80)

Fighting Mad was the strong favorite versus three opponents, and she was the controlling speed on top of that. She was clear early as expected, but Harvest Moon chased intently from 2nd, came after the leader around the far turn, and edged clear and held sway by a bit less than a length over length runner Hard Not to Love. The latter stalked wide from the outside post and found her best stride too late. Fighting Mad was a clear 3rd and Proud Emma trailed throughout.

Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) – Winner: C Z Rocket ($4.80)

Three of the five entrants were solid win contenders, and that trio decided things as expected. Flagstaff set the pace, C Z Rocket chased outside, and Collusion Illusion chased from the rail. Flagstaff was game until the end but C Z Rocket got his head down late to score by a head. Flagstaff was second best and Collusion Illusion was best of the rest in 3rd. Desert Law was 4th and Giant Expectations trailed.

Tokyo City Cup (G3) – Winner: Cupid’s Claws ($17.00)

Tizamagician was the controlling speed on paper. That main issue was the mile and a half distance. He did get the early lead but was never clear and paid the price late. Combatant pressed the pace and Cupid’s Claws stalked inside, angled out, surged to the lead, and rolled home by 7+ lengths. Tizamagician never stopped trying after losing the lead and safely held 2nd over Combatant. Muralist, Bold Endeavor, Potantico, and Azul Coast rounded out the order of finish.

Santa Anita Full Card Highlights for Sunday (9-27-20)
SA 1 Gregdar/Capo Mafioso Exacta ($12.60)
SA 2 Heels Up/Flash Magic Exacta ($5.30)
SA 3 Conquest Cobra/El Huerfano Exacta (SA Best Bet #1, $13.00)
SA 6 Brickyard Ride/Appreciated Exacta (SA Best Bet #3, $17.90)
SA 7 Acting Out/Superstition/Vegas Palm Trifecta ($83.60)
SA 8 C Z ROCKET ($4.80), Exacta ($5.70)
Double (races 7-8, $30.60)
Pick 3 (races 6-8, $39.25)
Double (races 8-9, $11.20)
Pick 3 (races 7-9, $23.80)
Pick 3 (races 8-10, $46.20)

Article by Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.