Champagne Picks 01/05: Santa Anita Park
Sunday’s feature at Santa Anita is the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. It goes as the seventh of eight races on the program, and as you may expect, trainer Bob Baffert seems to have the rest of the field cornered.
The Hall of Fame horseman saddles three of the seven runners in here, and the likely favorite is a filly that made plenty of noise as a 2-year-old. Is there any stopping Baffert from running 1-2-3 in this seven-furlong event? Let’s take a look!
The Odds-On Favorite
#7 BAST is even-money on the morning line, but she’ll almost certainly be less than that come post time, and for good reason. She won three Grade 1 races at two and was third behind likely division champ British Idiom in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and there’s nothing indicating a drop-off is likely here. She’s been working well, draws a cushy outside post, and will be reunited with regular pilot Drayden Van Dyke.
There’s no sugarcoating it: If Bast is at her best, the race is for second. With that in mind, the question becomes how we make money while acknowledging the favorite will be very tough to beat.
The Other Bafferts
Of Bast’s stablemates, I prefer #2 GOLDEN PRINCIPAL to #1 AUBERGE. Golden Principal was professional in her debut at Del Mar, which came going a six-furlong distance she’s not really bred to handle. I think she’ll get better as the races get longer, so the added eighth of a mine should suit her.
Auberge, meanwhile, ran very well to break her maiden on debut in October, but she hasn’t raced since and draws the rail. These aren’t insignificant hurdles to clear, and I think she’ll be an underlay.
The Potential Party-Crasher
There’s a lot of speed in here, and if Bob Baffert’s horses lose this race, it will likely be because the early tempo was too fast. As a result, I want to include a closer, and there’s one at a big price that interests me a bit.
#6 ORQUIDIAS BIZ is certainly taking a class jump. She was last seen running an OK second in a listed stakes race at Del Mar, and her lone win to date came on the turf. However, she’s the only runner here that’s shown any ability at all rating from far off the pace. I think that’s a skill that will come in handy here, and the presence of red-hot rider Joel Rosario is another plus.
Is she good enough to win? Almost certainly not. However, I don’t think it’d take a ton for her to hit the board at a big price. If she does, exacta and trifecta payoffs go up by a fair bit.
How I’ll Play It
It’s tough to avoid Bast, and I’ll play narrow trifecta tickets with her on top of Golden Principal and Orquidias Biz. I’ll also play cheap exactas using Orquidias Biz with all three Baffert runners. If she hits the board at a price, I want to make money.
2 units: Trifecta, 7 w/2,6 w/2,6
1 unit: Exacta key box, 6 w/1,2,7