Santa Anita & Churchill

It’s a big weekend for racing in the United States, as four tracks make their return after a hiatus: West Virginia’s Charles Town, California’s Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park, and Kentucky’s Churchill Downs. With Florida’s Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park continuing their meets, that makes for six tracks going this Saturday, the largest wagering slate since March 21. Here, we’ll cover the two stakes races at Santa Anita, plus a competitive allowance race at Churchill.


The sixth race at Santa Anita on Saturday is for three-year-old colts and geldings bred in California, going six furlongs on the dirt. A field of nine will line up in this race. Post time is approximately 3:06 PM PDT.

TOP PICK: 8, Big Sweep. It’s not easy to take a horse who’s raced just one time in a field loaded with experience, but Big Sweep’s one win was uber-impressive. He won by 2 ½ lengths in a maiden race at Santa Anita on March 14. Despite encountering stout pressure on the early lead, he brushed off his rivals and drew off to a 2 ½-length score while not being asked. His brisnet speed figure in that race was a 95, nine points better than the last-out figure of anyone else in the field. He looks like a horse full of potential, and should win easily if he runs back to his debut.

SECOND CHOICE: 2, Rookie Mistake. His races on dirt have been a mixed bag so far. He finished a very strong second last year at Del Mar, earning a brisnet figure of 86, followed by a maiden-breaking win on grass. He stretched out to two turns in the California Cup Derby, where he was no factor, then returned to grass and won against Cal-breds by a nose. We haven’t really seen him against strong competition on dirt yet, but his current grass form, coupled with hints of affinity for dirt, makes me think he’s in line for a big one.


Ten three-year-old California-bred fillies.will go six furlongs on the dirt, with a post time of 4:08 PM PDT. It’s listed as the eighth race on the card.

TOP PICK: 3, Been Studying Her. This filly turned heads last fall at Santa Anita, crushing the field in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies by 3 ½ lengths, earning a gigantic brisnet speed figure of 96. She stretched out around two turns in her next start, which backfired, then unsuccessfully tried the grass. Now, she’s back on the dirt, and back sprinting. If she’s improved from age 2 to age 3, as most horses do, she’s going to be very tough.

SECOND CHOICE: 2, Bella Vita. She’s been competing exclusively on grass, most recently finishing third against open company in the China Doll Stakes. She has plenty of early speed, but has also shown the ability to rate. With lots of pure speed horses in the field, including likely favorite Bulletproof One, she can sit just off the leaders and take advantage when the leaders tire themselves out.


Churchill Downs returns on Saturday afternoon, with a loaded 11-race card. The featured race is a competitive allowance race for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on the dirt. It attracted a full field of twelve, plus four alternate runners who can go in the event of a scratch. Post time is approximately 5:44 PM EDT.

TOP PICK: 5, Miss T Too. After laying an egg in her debut, she had no trouble second time out, beating a field of maidens at Gulfstream Park by a length. That was a strong maiden race; both the second and third-place finishers in that race came back to win next out. Since that race, she’s been working sharply down in Florida, and looks loaded to run another big one. Look for jockey John Velazquez to send her to the lead once again.

SECOND CHOICE: 1, Mo City. She started her career in style, with two big races at Tampa Bay Downs. When stretching to a mile last out in the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct, she came up empty, finishing a non-threatening fifth. Since that race, she’s been on a steady, strong worktab, and now cuts back in distance and faces an easier field. Her figures at Tampa Bay were in the high 80s, right up there with the other contenders. The seven-furlong distance should be relished by her. 

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