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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for the Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita Park

The first Sunday of the New Year brings us across country to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California for the $200,000 Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs on the dirt.

The field of 7 will go to gate for race 7 on the 8-race card with an approximate post time of 6:38 p.m. ET.

#7, Bast, Draden Van Dyke, 1-1

The morning-line prohibitive favorite is a three-time Grade 1 winner last year and finished third by two lengths to British Idiom in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here on Nov. 1. In her last, Bast won the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 7 for trainer Bob Baffert’s sixth win in the Starlet. She has also won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante (8/31) and the Grade 1 Chandelier (9/27) here. She has raced in four straight Grade 1 races prior to today. Impossible to go against. The pick.

#2, Golden Principal, Mike Smith, 5-2

Golden Principal is one of three Bob Baffert-trained horses in today’s race. She won a maiden special weight at six furlongs by 1 ½ lengths in her debut at Del Mar on Nov. 30 as the 1-2 favorite and has not raced since due to a brief illness. She will be right next another Baffert entrant, Auberge, who drew the rail. Legendary Mike Smith is in the saddle. Runner-up.

#1, Auberge, Flavien Prat, 5-2

Auberge won her debut here in a maiden special weight by 7 ¾ lengths as the favorite on Oct. 27. Drayden Van Dyke was in the saddle then, but Flavien Prat has the mount today as Van Dyke is aboard the heavy favorite Bast. Baffert could sweep the top three spots. Contender.

#3, Lovely Lilia, Abel Cedillo, 12-1

She has won two straight in a maiden claiming race here on Sept. 27 and a starter optional claiming race at Del Mar on Nov. 24, both dramatic improvements off her ninth-place debut in a maiden special weight race at Del Mar on Aug. 24. Abel Cedillo has the mount for trainer Philip D’Amato. In the mix.

PICKS:  7-2-1-3

By Lou Monaco


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