Santa Anita offers two races Sunday related to the Kentucky Oaks and Derby trails. Early in the card is the Grade 3, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for girls, while the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) runs later in the card.
Click here for Santa Anita Entries, Results.
Unfortunately, the two stakes races are chalky in terms of the probable winner. Perhaps there is some value in playing an exacta in each race.
Santa Anita Race 3: Las Virgenes Stakes (G3)
Trainer Bob Baffert enters two fillies here in Adare Manor and Eda. Of the two entries, Adare Manor is the better option on top because of her strong performance in a local maiden route and major speed figure advantage.
Adare Manor broke her maiden last month by 12 lengths while stretching out to a one-mile route for the first time. She earned a 111 TimeformUS Speed Figure, which towers over this field. If Adare Manor repeats or improves on her maiden romp, she wins.
In Eda’s last start, she won the Starlet Stakes (G1) on Dec. 4 at Los Alamitos at the 1 1/16-mile distance. However, she did not look as sharp as she did in her sprint efforts leading up to the Starlet.
Eda only won the Starlet by half a length over Cairo Memories in second, with Tonito’s 3/4 of a length back in third. Two starts ago, Eda won the 6 1/2 furlong Desi Arnaz Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths over Tonito’s in second.
In addition, Eda’s last two Timeform US figures are only 98 and 95, which pale in comparison to Adare Manor’s top figure. She needs to step forward.
Eda is not certain to run second either, nor is she a good option to place second in an exacta at 9-5 since Adare Manor is 6-5 on the morning line. There are two other capable fillies in Queen of Thorns and Gracelund Gray.
Queen of Thorns broke her maiden in a local six-furlong sprint by an easy eight lengths Jan. 1 with a 100 on TimeformUS. Her 100 already beats all of Eda’s speed figures, although the stretch out to one mile is a question.
Gracelund Gray had a troubled trip while finishing second in a local six-furlong turf optional claiming race Jan. 16. She only lost by one length.
Even though Gracelund Gray’s local start came on turf, she shows two wins on dirt by huge double-digit margins at a smaller Canadian racetrack. Also, Gracelund Gray’s second dam High Heels competed as a consistent dirt stakes router who ran third in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks.
Because Gracelund Gray is 8-1, she is preferable for second. The Adare Manor over Queen of Thorns exacta will likely not pay anything significant.
Top selection: No. 3 Adare Manor (6-5)
Underneath: No. 2 Gracelund Gray (8-1)
Exact: 3 / 2
Santa Anita Race 8: Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3)
Messier broke his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths last October at Santa Anita, before capturing the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) in November at Del Mar.
In December, Messier ran second to Slow Down Andy in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), but that is forgivable for now. He only lost by one length, while another nine lengths came between him and the third-place Barossa.
For the runner-up effort, Messier still shows a 110 on TimeformUS, which holds up as the best TimeformUS Speed Figure in the field. The combination of Baffert and John Velazquez is hard to beat as well.
Even at a low price, Messier is the single.
The second slot in the exacta is a tossup between Sir London and Wharton. Sir London is lower than Wharton on the official morning line, but pay attention to live wagering to see which horse pays more with Messier.
Wharton only owns a maiden sprint win, but horses players tend to overbet Baffert entries. Also, his pedigree is questionable for routing.
In contrast, Sir London is proven in a two-turn route with his 10-length maiden win at Los Alamitos on Dec. 4. Flavien Prat will give him a good ride.
For now, Sir London will get the slight node for second. If live wagering shows better value for Wharton in second though, then consider switching to him. Also, there is a good chance that neither combination will pay enough.
Top selection: No. 1 Messier (6-5)
Underneath: No. 2 Sir London (9-5), No. 4 Wharton (4-1)
Exact: 1 / 2