Opening day at Santa Anita Park was pushed from December 26 until December 28, with an 11-race card offering a wealth of possibilities for wagering. Seven of the races are stakes, with a two-year-old maiden special weight event kicking off the action. There will be short priced favorites in many of the races, but some longer shots may be worth a look.
Race 2 - $75,000 Lady of Shamrock Stakes
#3 Bodhicitta (8-1)
This filly by Showcasing started her career in Ireland, but couldn’t break her maiden there in seven starts. She joined the Richard Baltas barn at Del Mar this summer and got the job done in her third American start, and 10th overall, with a 2 ¼ length score here going a mile. This race is over that same trip, and she’s learned to be a bit closer to the pace. Rafael Bejarano will be aboard for this.
Race 5 - $200,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2)
#5 Mugaritz (10-1)
Unbeaten in 2019, Mugaritz ships down from Northern California for trainer Jonathan Wong. The gelding has won six races in a row, on synthetic, turf, and dirt surfaces, and he has speed. This race is very contentious but this guy has done nothing but get better all year long.
Race 6 - $300,000 American Oaks (G1)
#7 Giza Goddess (7-2)
Daughter of Cairo Prince has blossomed of late for trainer John Shirreffs, who has had a stellar 2019. Victor Espinoza will ride the filly, who was a stakes winner here a year ago before needing a layoff from December 30 until October 26. She came back against stakes company going a mile to run second at 29-1, then faced older mares in grade 1 company and struggled. She is back in against three-year-olds and on a course where she has been first and second in two starts.
Race 7 - $300,000 La Brea Stakes (G1)
#7 Hard Not to Love (6-1)
Another from the Shirreffs outfit, this daughter of Hard Spun cost $400,000 and has won three of four starts, all over this track. Her lone loss came at this distance, but she broke slowly that day then rushed up and set the pace. This is the half-sister to popular Wonder Gadot.
Race 9 - $300,000 Malibu Stakes (G1)
#2 Complexity (5-2)
All eyes will be on heavily favored Omaha Beach, but Chad Brown ships in Complexity for this event. The son of Maclean’s Music was a 7 ¼ length allowance winner at Aqueduct over this distance last out. He has struggled to put consecutive races together. After winning the grade 1 Champagne last fall, he was tenth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, had seven months off, and finished 11th in the Woody Stephens (G1). Another four and a half months later was that Aqueduct race, and here he is just five weeks later and with three strong workouts to show.
All of these races can be watched and wagered on with TVG.