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My top choices struck in 4 of the 9 live races at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, Feb. 18, and I also tabbed multiple Doubles & Pick 3’s, both Pick 4’s, the Late Pick 5, the $3 Turf Pick 3, and the Golden Hour Pick 4. All of the winning tickets returned more than $2,000. See the full card highlights and analysis below, and check out my daily full card analysis at Santa Anita Park on my Runaway Horse Shop Page.

Santa Anita Full Card Highlights for Sunday (2-18-24)


Double (races 2-3, $41.00)

Pick 3 (races 1-3, $564.80)

Double (races 3-4, $17.40)

Pick 3 (races 2-4, $97.60)

Pick 3 (races 3-5, $34.80) 

50 cent Early Pick 4 (races 2-5, $61.60)

SA 7 JENNIFER’S D’LIGHT ($7.00), Exacta ($18.80)

Double (races 6-7, $32.40)

Pick 3 (races 5-7, $81.00)

SA 8 BIG POND ($4.00), Trifecta ($34.40)

Double (races 7-8, $14.40)

Pick 3 (races 6-8, $87.80)

SA 9 EL REY REY (SA Best Bet #2, $7.00)

Double (races 8-9, $23.00) 

Pick 3 (races 7-9, $66.20)

50 cent Late Pick 4 (races 6-9, $73.60) 

50 cent Late Pick 5 (races 5-9, $164.25)

$1 Pick 6 (races 4-9) – 5 of 6 – $16.70)

$3 Turf Pick 3 (races 3, 7, 9) – $204.60


$1 Golden Hour Pick 4 (SA 8, GG 7, SA 9, GG 8) – $333.80

$5 Golden Hour Double (SA 9, GG 8) – $53.50


*Full card highlights based on $2 wagers unless otherwise noted. 


February 18 Picks:

SA 1 (Mcl-50k, 9T) 

Primary – #3 AURATIUM, #4 Ellie Moore

Secondary – #2 English Danger, #5 Nakota

Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta 2-3-5/4, Trifecta 3-4/2-3-4-5/2-3-4-5

Comments: #3 Auratium (5-2) passed two runners after an uncomfortable start and trip in a local 9T MSW affair Jan. 20. Rispoli sticks with her and the drop might put her in the winner’s circle. #4 Ellie Moore (9-5) dropped out of the MSW ranks and stretched back out in her second start after a short layoff Jan. 19, and stalked the pace and landed the place. She dueled and weakened at 8T Nov. 11, and was a troubled 5th of 8 at 6T Jan. 1. #2 English Danger (5-2) broke last and ended up a respectable 4th of 9 in an all-weather sprint at GG Oct. 21. She broke from the outside post and split a 12-horse field at 8T Dec. 2, and the winner and show finisher were both next-out winners. She was an even fourth in the same race Ellie Moore exits. #5 Nakota (4-1) showed up in a maiden claiming turf route Jan. 19 and ended up a length behind Ellie Moore, and a length and a half in front of English Danger. She wore blinkers and was forwardly placed under Dettori last time. 

SA 2 (MSW, 6.5f) 

Primary – #6 SHOW CARD, #4 Bonaqua

Secondary – #5 Nay V Belle, #3 Begas Condo

Wagers: Exacta 6-4, Trifecta key 6/4-5, Superfecta key 6/3-4-5

50 cent Early Pick 4 (races 2-5): 6/7/1-3-7/1-3-5-8 ($6)

50 cent Early Pick 4 (races 2-5): 6/2-3-4-5-7/3-7/1-3-5-8 ($20)

50 cent Early Pick 4 (races 2-5): 3-4-5-6/7/3-7/1-3-5-8 ($16)

50 cent Early Pick 4 (races 2-5): 4-6/2-7/3-7/3-8 ($8)

Comments: #6 Show Card (8-5) blew the break and ended up 7th of 9 as the beaten favorite Jan. 21, and her stablemate Bonaqua was second that day. She fired a best of 126 local half-mile bullet for this Feb. 12 and figures to go much better if she gets out of the gate in good order. #4 Bonaqua (9-5) was 6-1 in her local MSW bow Jan. 21, and she rallied for the place in that 6f affair. Baffert’s $250k Tonalist filly has worked twice since her bow and Prat is 3-for-10 with this outfit recently. #5 Nay V Belle (4-1) is a $200k Midshipman filly for +ROI debut MSW trainer Mark Glatt. Dettori is 2-for-8 with this outfit and she had a decent local gate move Feb. 11. #3 Vegas Condo (6-1) was 9-1 in the Bonaqua maiden race Jan. 21, and she stalked wide and raced evenly. Ron Ellis shows a profit with second timers and the $350k daughter of Into Mischief might go better the second time around.  

SA 3 (Str-Alw-50k, 8T) – SA Best Bet

Primary – #7 FIRSTTIMEINFOREVER, #2 Control Function

Secondary – #5 Katerini, #3 She’s a Joker, #4 In Your Face

Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta box 2-7, Trifecta key 7/2-3-4-5, Trifecta 2-3-4-5/7/2-3-4-5

$3 Turf Pick 3 (races 3, 7, 9): 7/8/2-3-5-7-8 ($15)

$3 Turf Pick 3 (races 3, 7, 9): 7/1-6-7-8/7 ($12)

$3 Turf Pick 3 (races 3, 7, 9): 2-3-4-5-7/8/7 ($15) 

Comments: #7 Firsttimeinforever (3-1) seems to be on the upswing for Powell, She graduated in a turf route at DMR last summer, and tailed off in her next three starts. She was a good third on Nov. 12, and switched to Dettori and ran on nicely for the win Jan. 1. She owns the best late pace ratings and can run past these. #2 Control Function (5-2) moved to the Baltas barn and was best of the rest in third in a similar course/distance spot Jan. 12. That was her first start since March 2023 and she showed improved tactical speed that day. She can win this if she takes a step forward. #5 Katerini (4-1) should be in the mix but is just 2-for-16 with seven runner-up finishes on turf. She missed by a neck and was a length in front of Control Function last time. #3 She’s a Joker (4-1) won two turf local sprints in 2022 and completed the trifecta in 4 of 7 starts since. She returned from a layoff and was a close show finisher in a similar local turf sprint Jan. 27. She landed the show in both starts at 8T and Prat climbs aboard. She might move forward in her second start after a layoff. #4 In Your Face (5-1) pressed above par fractions before weakening at 8T Jan. 12. She fired trifecta shots in 5 of 7 starts prior to her last (2 wins), and her winning rider Hernandez should have her in a contending spot throughout. Eurton’s mare might get a favorable race shape and can show more in her second start after a layoff.

SA 4 (Mcl-20k, 6f) 

Primary – #7 CLASSY, #3 Unkept Secret

Secondary – #1 Storming Gray

Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta box 3-7, Trifecta 3-7/1-3-7/1-3-7

$1 Pick 6 Ticket (Races 4-9): 3-7/3-8/6/1-8/2-5/5-7 ($32) 

Comments: #7 Classy (3-1) switches surfaces and drops in class, and this is her first start in more than a year. Puype can strike with long layoff runners. #3 Unkept Secret (5-2) is 0-for-9 with six minor placings. She set the pace and held on by a head as the chalk Dec. 2 but was demoted to second. She was 6-1 in a similar local spot Jan. 21 and missed the place by a nose after stalking the pace. Valdivia sticks with the versatile mare and she should make her presence felt throughout in a weak heat. #1 Storming Gray (9-2) stalked the pace and landed the place in a similar flat mile race Jan. 15. She turns back and might hit the board for a low % outfit. 

SA 5 (Clm-20k, 8f) 

Primary – #3 BIG BUZZ, #8 Nauvoo

Secondary – #5 Zimba Warrior, #1 Sol Del Sur

Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta box 3-8, Trifecta 3-8/1-3-5-8/1-3-5-8

Comments: #3 Big Buzz (5-2) has not been receiving the right setups recently. Knapp claimed the 9-year-old gelding for $12.5k last time and his winning rider Alsagoor stays put. He should get pace to chase this time. #8 Nauvoo (2-1) set the pace and ran away in an 11-length tally vs. $12.5k foes at this course and distance Feb. 2. He was re-claimed out of that heat by Mulhall and he landed the place in a $25k flat mile claimer when he was with this barn at DMR last summer. #5 Zimba Warrior (8-1) drops back to his claimed level and should be finishing. His winning rider Kent D stays put and he wins races with Hess Jr. #1 Sol Del Sur (5-2) dropped from $16k to $10k and turned back Jan. 21, and he chased the pace and pulled away to score by 2 1/4 lengths as the favorite. He jumps up multiple levels and stretches back out, and Glatt is enjoying a fine meet.  

SA 6 (OC-80k/2x, 6f) 

Primary – #6 SIR ATTICUS, #4 Elwood Blues

Secondary – #3 Kingdom Heart, #5 Principe Carlo

Wagers: Exacta 6-4, Trifecta key 6/3-4, Superfecta key 6/3-4-5

50 cent Late Pick 4 (races 6-9): 6/1-8/2/2-3-5-7-8 ($5)

50 cent Late Pick 4 (races 6-9): 6/1-6-7-8/1-2-3-4-5/5-7 ($20)

50 cent Late Pick 4 (races 6-9): 3-4-5-6/1-6-7-8/2/5-7 ($16)

50 cent Late Pick 4 (races 6-9): 4-6/1-8/2-5/5-7 ($8)

Comments: #6 Sir Atticus (9-5) was clearly second best to Fort Bragg Nov. 17, and was a clear third behind Big City Lights and Newgate Jan. 6. He drew the comfortable outside post and figures to stalk while out in the clear. #4 Elwood Blues (5-2) finished 1-2 in all four starts for Baffert. The tactical Justify colt still has upside but needs to run faster to win this. Sir Atticus beat him by a length and a half in a local MSW affair last June. #3 Kingdom Heart (6-1) dueled and finished a close third in a $60k stakes sprint at TUP Jan. 29. Dettori is 2-for-3 with Cerin and he is probably the one to catch. #5 Principe Carlo (5-1) is a quality veteran with a good overall record at SA. He exits a 5-1 stakes victory at Turf Paradise, and he reconnects with Frey and should be in the hunt throughout.  

SA 7 (MSW, 6.5T) 

Primary – #8 JENNIFER’S D’LIGHT, #1 Apple Fest

Secondary – #6 Strikingly, #7 Sparrow

Wagers: #8 to win, Exacta 1-8/1-6-8, Trifecta 1-7-8/1-7-8/6

Comments: #8 Jennifer’s d’Light (4-1) turned back and showed nice late interest in a close show finish at 5.5T March 2023. McCarthy shows a profit with this type of layoff runner and Rispoli is 4-for-18 with this outfit. She is a $650k daughter of City of Light and dam has tossed four turf winners. #1 Apple Fest (4-1) set the pace and finished an improved 2nd in her second career start last May. She switched to turf and pressed, led, and finished 4th of 7 in her 6.5T return Jan. 14. Van Dyke stays put and Baffert’s Bolt d’Oro filly should be all over the pace from the inside post. #6 Strikingly (3-1) is 0-for-11 with five minor placings on turf. She stalked the pace and missed by a half-length in her local 6.5T return Jan. 14. I like her chances underneath. #7 Sparrow (15-1) was slow into stride from post 11 and passed a few rivals in her 5T bow at DMR last summer. She adds lasix and Berrios is a profitable turf rider. Dam has produced four turf winners.  

SA 8 (Spring Fever, CA-bred, 6f) 

Primary – #2 BIG POND, #5 Rose Maddox

Secondary – #4 Rose Dawson, #3 Daddysruby, #1 Scary Fast Ride

Wagers: #2 to win, Trifecta key 2/1-3-4-5, Trifecta 2-3-5/1-4/1-4

$1 Golden Hour Pick 4 (SA 8, GG 7, SA 9, GG 8): 2-4-5/3-6/5-7/5-7 ($24) 

Comments: #2 Big Pond (5-2) missed by a nose in the G1 La Brea Dec. 26 and Dettori got to know her in that race. She won both of her starts in the state bred ranks and figures to chase the pace from an inner post. She fired a best of 67 local bullet for this at 5f Feb. 11. #5 Rose Maddox (5-2) captured 2 of her last 3 stakes sprints on turf. She handles dirt as well and Prat strings along. #4 Rose Dawson (7-2) lures Hernandez away from Daddysruby, and D’Amato’s mare might move up in her second start after a layoff. She looked good winning an open optional-claiming sprint at LRC last September, and overcame a slow pace to land the place in the Betty Grable last fall (1-3 finishers next-out winners). #3 Daddysruby (2-1) is 5-for-6 overall. She set the pace and nipped Big Pond in the La Brea last time. She is the one to catch under her new rider Maldonado. #1 Scary Fast Ride (8-1) can spice up the exotics. She fired trifecta shots in her last five starts and is 2-for-2 at SA. 

SA 9 (MSW, 8T) – SA Best Bet

Primary – #7 EL REY REY, #5 Message of Hope

Secondary – #3 British Isles, #2 Nitti, #8 American Glory

Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta box 5-7, Trifecta key 7/2-3-5-8, Superfecta 5-7/3-5-7/all/2-3-5-7-8

$10 Golden Hour Double (SA 9, GG 8): 5-7/5-7 ($40)

Comments: #7 El Rey Rey (5-1) broke slow from post 10 and rallied to finish 4th after finding running room in his better than appears 6T bow at 14-1 odds. He stretched out and rallied to miss by a neck second time out, and returned from a short layoff and was 7th of 10 at 6T Jan. 6. He stretches back out and Prat got to know him last time. Mullins shows a profit with the blinkers off move. #5 Message of Hope (7-2) broke slow and finished 7th of 12 in his turf route bow at AQU last fall. He was 16-1 in that race and was bet down to 7-2 second time out, and he stalked, led, and finished third by a length at SA last time. Dettori got acquainted with him last time and Rick Dutrow is a profitable 26% with his turf starters. Dam has tossed a turf winner and he cuts back a furlong and might move up in his second start after a layoff. #3 British Isles (4-1) switched to turf and rallied for the place in a local 1 1/8 miles affair Jan. 21. Dam has tossed a turf winner and he should be finishing in his second start after a layoff. #2 Nitti (5-1) makes his first start in this country. He landed the show in 1 of 3 turf starts in Ireland. Hernandez is a strong turf rider and Powell shows a profit with new additions to his barn. He adds lasix and shows seven local works for this. #8 American Glory (8-1) is another import for Powell and Rispoli ends up here. He landed the place in a pair of all-weather extended sprints in Great Britain.  

Rolling Daily Double & Pick 3 Contenders – in order of preference:

1   (3-4-2-5)

2   (6-4-5-3)

3   (7-2-5-3-4)

4   (7-3-1)

5   (3-8-5-1)

6   (6-4-3-5)

7   (8-1-6-7)

8   (2-5-4-3-1)

9   (7-5-3-2-8)


For Rolling Doubles and Pick 3 tickets, key the top choice in each race to all other contenders. See examples below:

Double (Race 1-2): 

Ticket 1 (3-6)

Ticket 2 (3/3-4-5-6)

Ticket 3 (2-3-4-5/6)

Double (Races 2-3):

Ticket 1 (6-7)

Ticket 2 (6/2-3-4-5-7)

Ticket 3 (3-4-5-6/7)

Pick 3 (Race 1-3): 

Ticket 1 (3-6-7)

Ticket 2 (3/3-4-5-6/2-3-4-5-7)

Ticket 3 (2-3-4-5/6/2-3-4-5-7)

Ticket 4 (2-3-4-5/3-4-5-6/7)


GG 7 (Clm-6250k/2L, 8f)

Primary – #3 SENOR DEL CAMPO, #6 Venom

Secondary – #5 Movietime, #8 Thanks Maggio

Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta box 3-6, Trifecta 3-6/3-5-6-8/3-5-6-8

Comments: #3 Senor Del Campo (10-1) landed the show in his last two all-weather sprints, and he stretches back out in his third start after a long layoff. He earned a competitive number last time and should go off at a nice number. #6 Venom (5-2) moved to the Mathis barn and promptly wired the field in a local $8k maiden claimer Jan. 19, and the runner-up was a next-out winner. Barn shows a profit with recent grads trying winners for the first time.  

GG 8 (MSW, 5.5f)

Primary – #5 EFFORT, #7 Everydayissaturday

Secondary – #1 Valiant Son, #2 Unbridled Rhythm

Wagers: #5 to win, Exacta box 5-7, Trifecta 1-5-7/1-5-7/2

Comments: #5 Effort (4-1) was the beaten favorite in his dirt sprint bow at Fresno last fall. He sports a trio of local bullets for this including a best of 67 move from the gate Feb. 3. Jauregui shows a profit with this type of layoff runner and he is strong with his first lasix starters. #7 Everydayissaturday (9-5) had a troubled beginning and rallied wide to finish a clear 2nd at 5-2 odds in his local sprint bow Jan. 7, and winner Unbridled Vision clicked right back as the favorite in an optional-claiming sprint Feb. 2. He will probably be closer in the early going if he gets a clean break. 


SUN 7 (Sunland Park Oaks, 8f)

Primary – #2 SIMPLY ENCHANTING, #5 Recharge

Secondary – #1 Candy Aisle

Wagers: #2 to win, Exacta 2/1-5, Exacta 1-5/2

Comments: #2 Simply Enchanting (7-2) was 6-1 in her dirt sprint bow at Santa Anita on Jan. 21, and she stalked the pace from the outside post and did her best running late in a one-length victory. Antonio Fresu sticks with the $475k Nyquist filly and she should make her presence felt from the outset. Phil D’Amato has good stats with his first route starters. #5 Recharge (5-2) set the pace and romped in her sprint bow at Remington Park, and the clear runner-up was a next-out winner. She stretched out at Sam Houston second time out, and she stalked from the outside post and pulled away to score by 4 3/4 lengths as the favorite. Joel Rosario hops aboard Steve Asmussen’s Gun Runner filly. #1 Candy Aisle (2-1) ran last in her dirt sprint debut at Del Mar last summer. She removed blinkers and graduated in a $75k stakes race at Albuquerque second time out, and won sprint stakes races at Zia Park and Sunland in her last pair. The $250k Gun Runner filly is a logical contender if she handles a flat mile. 

SUN 9 (G3 Sunland Park Derby, 8.5f)

Primary – #5 STRONGHOLD, #8 Informed Patriot

Secondary – #4 Lucky Jeremy, #3 Curlin’s Kaos

Wagers: #5 to win, Exacta 5/3-4-8, Exacta 3-4-8/5

Comments: #5 Stronghold (5-2) fired exacta shots in all four starts. He chased the pace and was clearly second best in his dirt sprint bow at Ellis Park last summer, and graduated over Resilience and Track Phantom in a one-turn mile second time out. He was no match for Nysos in the Bob Hope (G3) at seven panels at Del Mar last fall, and chased the pace and settled for the place when last seen in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). He scratched out of the Robert Lewis Stakes (G3) so he would not have to face Nysos again, and this is a winnable spot for Phil D’Amato’s Ghostzapper colt. Antonio Fresno keeps the faith and a stalking trip is expected. #8 Informed Patriot (3-1) broke his maiden as the favorite in an extended sprint at Churchill Downs second time out. He completed the trifecta in his last three starts and two of those were Kentucky Derby points races. He projects a stalking trip from the outside post for the productive Joel Rosario and Steve Amsussen team. #4 Lucky Jeremy (4-1) raced evenly in his dirt sprint debut at Churchill Downs last summer, and subsequent Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) hero Honor Marie won that race. He wired the field in the slop second time out, and shipped to Sunland Park and captured the Riley Allison Derby on Jan. 19. Christian Ramos sticks with Bill Morey’s early-pressing Lookin At Lucky colt. #3 Curlin’s Kaos (5-1) fired trifecta shots in all four California-bred special weight starts. The Clubhouse Ride gelding stretched out, returned to turf, and rallied for the win at Santa Anita on Jan. 27. He is getting better and might not be out of this. 

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.