The rebirth of Santa Anita Park begins its 23-day autumn meet later this afternoon, which culminates with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Nov. 1-2.
The opening day 9-race card has three graded stakes races, including the first of the day, the $300,000 Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old juvenile fillies over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The six-horse field, with the winner clinching a berth to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 1, will go off as race 5 with an approximate post time of 6 p.m. ET.
#4, Bast, John Velazquez, 3-5
The first stakes race of the fall meet and trainer Bob Baffert already has the overwhelming morning-line favorite at 3-5. After a runner-up debut finish by 1 ¼ lengths to Inspiressa in a maiden special weight at Del Mar Aug. 11, Bast turned the tables and defeated her rival in the rematch by 8 ¾ lengths in the $300,000 Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes on Aug. 31. Drayden Van Dyke, who is coming off an injury, was on both of Bast’s previous mounts and today John Velazquez takes over. I expect the same performance over a small field, even though this is her first two-turn race and is stretching out from seven furlongs. The pick.
#2, K P Dreamin, Ruben Fuentes, 6-1
After a fourth-place finish to winner Bast at 50-1 in her 5 ½ furlong debut on Aug. 11 at Del Mar, K P Dreamin came back in her next start, stretched to a mile and responded nicely with a 1 ¼ length win at 9-2 on Aug. 29, also at Del Mar. She does have an advantage of a one two turn race and hopes to be in better position to at least take a shot at Bast. Ruben Fuentes returns to the saddle for his third straight start. Runner-up.
#1, Been Studying Her, Mike Smith, 9-2
You can’t count any horse out with Mike Smith aboard. If you do, you might regret it, especially at Santa Anita. In her last start, Been Studying Her won by 1 ¼ lengths in the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 28. She was 8-1 that day ($19.20 to win) with Smith aboard for the first time. She also won her maiden special weight race in her debut going 5 ½ furlongs at Sacramento on July 20. In the mix.
#6, Leucothea, Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 5-1
This will be the third jockey change for Leucothea in four starts with James Graham riding the debut and Abel Cedillo riding the last two, including her first career win in her second start in a maiden claiming race at Del Mar on Aug. 15. In her last start, finished last (with Bast winning) in Del Mar Debutante. Will improve.
By Lou Monaco