The middle graded stakes race of Friday’s autumn meet opening day card at Santa Anita Park is the Grade 2 $200,000 Eddie D Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs on the turf.
The field of eight is slated for Race 6 on the 9-race card and has an approximate post time of 6:40 p.m. ET.
#1, Eddie Haskell, Joel Rosario, 3-1
Eddie Haskell has finished in the top three in 12 straight races, dating back to June 2018 (7-2-3). The 6-year-old California-bred has won four of his last six starts, but had a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 17, finishing 2 ¼ lengths behind today’s fello race entrant and morning-line favorite Mr Vargas. If you just had one horse to run five furlongs on the turf, it would be Eddie Haskell, where he is 9-2-2 in 13 career starts at that distance. After five straight mounts by Kent Desormeaux, Joel Rosario gets the call today and returns after a head win over another fellow entrant, Stormy Liberal, in an allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 22. Love the experience, love he gets another jock who has won on him before, love the name. The pick.
#6, Mr Vargas, Joe Talamo, 5-2
Mr Vargas has won two straight and three of his last five races, highlighted by his last start in a 2 ¼-length triumph over today’s entrant and my pick, Eddie Haskell, in the Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 17. He has posted a 2-1-1 record in four starts over five furlongs. This will be his 12th career start and Joe Talamo returns for his seventh straight start aboard. Runner-up.
#5, Stormy Liberal, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 4-1
The defending champion returns to see if the spark is still there for the 7-year-old for trainer Peter Miller. In five starts this year, he is 0-2-2, including a fifth-place finish at odds of 5-1 in the $700,000 Grade 3 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 7. In his last win, he defended his Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint title with a neck win over World of Trouble at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, 2018. In his last 10 starts at Santa Anita, he has posted 4 wins and 6 runner-up finishes. In the mix and will improve.
#2, Pee Wee Reese, Flavien Prat, 3-1
Pee Wee Reese, named after the great Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop, is 7-2-1 in 14 career starts and will be making his first start since a 1 ¼-length victory over today’s entrant Eddie Haskell in the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes back on March 31 on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. Flavien Prat takes over the mount and will be trying five furlongs on the flat track for the first time. Concerned about the layoff a bit, although prior to his last start, he had more than a 7-month layoff and prevailed. Love the jock on him. Contender and in the mix.
By Lou Monaco