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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for the La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita

After a first and fourth-place finish at Aqueduct Friday, we travel cross country to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California for the $200,000 Grade 3 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-olds and up fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on the dirt.

The field of 8 will go to gate for race 8 on the 9-race card with an approximate post time of 7:07 p.m. ET.

#6, Horologist, Joe Bravo, 4-1

She has finished in the money in five of her last six starts, however in her last she finished a disappointing 9th in the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 19. Prior to that, she is 4-0-1 including a ¾ of a length win over Jaywalk and Joe Bravo in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park on Aug. 17. Ironically, Bravo will make his second start aboard for trainer Richard Baltas. This will be her fourth straight graded stakes start and her first trip to the West Coast and Santa Anita Park. I like the fact that Bravo comes back aboard again for his second start. I like the fact he has seen firsthand what she can do, not only in her last start but in a race that Bravo was beat at. Bravo has been hot as of late as well and that’s a plus. The odds could remain the same or even go higher, so for a price, why not. The pick.

#7, Spiced Perfection, Joel Rosario, 5-2

This will be her eighth graded stakes start where she has won two of her last three, three of her last five and four of her last seven. Consistency is certainly there. She comes off a win in her last, the Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap at Aqueduct on Dec. 7 and prior to that finished fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint here on Nov. 2. There certainly is a lot to like, but this will be her first try over two turns and that could cause a problem. This will be her ninth start at Santa Anita (2-2-2). Joel Rosario has the call for trainer Peter Miller. Will be there right at the end. Runner-up.

#3, Queen Bee to You, Rueben Fuentes, 3-1

Today marks her 33rd career start (7-11-5) and she has certainly impressed as of late, winning her last two starts, highlighted by the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 8 in her last by 3 ½ lengths. This will be her 18th career start at Santa Anita, where she has won three times. This will be her second straight and third career graded stakes start. Ruben Fuentes has the mount for trainer Andrew Lerner. Contender.

#4, Message, Mike Smith, 4-1

She has finished in the money in four straight and five of her last starts, including a win in her last an allowance optional claiming race at Los Alamitos on Dec. 7 by four lengths in a four horse field as the second choice. This will be her third career start at Santa Anita, finishing third in an AOC race on Oct. 27 and a first-place finish in a maiden special weight on June 22. So she loves the track. Mike Smith gets the call for trainer Bob Baffert and what’s not to like about that duo, but this is her first graded stakes start. Smith will definitely improve the horse and will catch a minor price. In the mix.

PICKS: 6-7-3-4

By Lou Monaco


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