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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco gives us his picks for Sunday's Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita

Santa Ysabel Stakes - PICK: #1 Donna Veloce

#1, Donna Veloce, Flavien Prat, 4-5

The morning-line favorite starts her 3-year-old season today after a tremendous autumn to open her career. She won by a whopping nine lengths in her debut here on Sept. 28. What was next? Beaten by a neck as the favorite to British Idiom in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile here on Nov. 1. In her last, she had another runner-up finish by a ½ length to Bast as a heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 7. Flavien Prat returns for trainer Simon Callaghan. She will get it done with ease today. Shocked if she didn’t take it.

Verdict: The pick.

#2, Gidgetta, Joel Rosario, 5-1

This will be her third career start (1-0-1) as she comes off a triumph by a length as the second choice in a maiden special weight race here on Jan. 20, her first time around The Great Race Place. I like the fact she took a trip around here and it’s a positive she came out with a win. Joel Rosario is in the saddle for trainer Richard Baltas. Possibly, but can’t do it.

Verdict: Runner-up.

#4, Tiz Fake News, Abel Cedillo, 6-1

Not fake news here, she enters today’s race looking for her third straight win after back-to back victories at Golden Gate Fields in the first two months of the year. She won a maiden special weight race on Jan. 11 and an allowance optional claiming race on Feb. 8. Abel Cedillo is aboard for trainer Jonathan Wong. She steps it up a notch today, let’s see how she does in her first graded stakes appearance.

Verdict: Contender.

#3, Speech, G Franco, 4-1

This will be her first start around two turns as she makes her third career start today (1-0-1) after two straight in the money finishes at Saratoga. She won her debut in a maiden special weight race on July 31 and finished third in her first graded stakes appearance, the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes on Sept. 1. She has been off six-plus months, so let’s see how she does off the break. Javier Castellano is in the saddle for trainer Chad Brown.

Verdict: In the mix.

By Lou Monaco


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