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HomeHorse RacingLouie's Look Ahead: Santa Anita Opening Day 2023

Louie’s Look Ahead: Santa Anita Opening Day 2023

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Louie’s Look Ahead
Santa Anita Opening Day 12/26/2023

A happiest St. Stephen’s Day to you and yours – I hope you had a great Christmas/ Hannukah/ start to Kwanzaa. And if you didn’t, well… there are six stakes at Santa Anita today! Let’s look at all of them, and try to hit some profitable bets.

A few reminders about Santa Anita betting:
-the Pick 3 minimum was raised to $1 from $.50
-the WPS takeout is 15.43%, amongst the lowest in the industry
-the early Pick 5 has a low 14% takeout

Alright, let’s get into some races.

Race 3 Grade 2 San Gabriel 1 1/8M, turf. 3+up. $200,000.

A couple of worthy favorites in here, so let’s try to build a pick 3 ticket using them and the new $1 minimum.

I agree with the ML that 2 Easter is a worthy favorite, winner of two straight in stakes company and the best recent form. Two turn grass races love an upset, so we’ll use another horse, but the 5 year-old gelded son of Exosphere makes our ticket.

I think there’s a chance jockey Flavien Prat has a huge day – and it could start in earnest here. 5 Tio Magico – maybe you hung out with your uncle the last few days – his first start in stakes company, but picks up Prat in what might be a tip of the hand from trainer Phil D’Amato. I’ll use both in our ticket.

Top Selections: 2, 5

Race 4 MSW, 7F dirt. 3+up. $65,000.

We’ll single Prat in this leg abroad 5 Judge Miller.

Race 5 G1 American Oaks 1 ¼M, turf. 3YOF. $300,000.

I do think the chalk is a worthy favorite here, as well, in the 2 Anisette. She’s a true SoCal turf horse, having run exclusively out west since moving the US. Umberto Rispoli is as good as it gets on the turf in SoCal, so we’ll put her on top here.

Give me one more in this company: 6 Be Your Best will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr, and is coming out of a near-score against the boys on the Breeder’s Cup undercard. Must-include, IMO.

Pick 3, starts race 3: 2, 5 / 5 / 2, 6. $1 Pick 3 is $4; you can play it at $5 for $20.

Race 6 Grade 2 San Antonio 1 1/16M, dirt. 3+up. $200,000.

My main question for this race: if he doesn’t fire, will this be 1 Stilleto Boy’s last race? He’s been nowhere to be found the last two out, after a terrific start to the year. Maybe he’s just worn down?

I’ll be playing a place-show bet on 6 Mixto. I think the added distance will help this 3YO son of Good Magic, who finally broke his maiden last out at Del Mar. Trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Antonio fresu will have him pointed well.

Top Selections: 6 PS

Race 7 Grade 1 Malibu 7F, dirt. 3+up. $300,000

The highlight of the day, and another spot where Prat will be able to add to a big day: 3 Speed Boat Beach drops out of the Breeder’s Cup and into softer – albeit Grade 1 – company. He should benefit big time.

I like 8 Raise Cain to hit the board in this one, if you’re looking to fill out an exacta or longer.

Top selections: 3, 8.

Race 9 Grade 2 SA Mathis Mile. 1M, turf. 3YO. $200,000.

I think there are many opportunities here. Let’s go down the list-

Can 6 Dandy Man Smiles keep his current form going? After being close many, many times at the maiden level, he finally struck in September, then backed it up in the Let It Ride at Del Mar. 1:34.4 is an INSANE clip, and cna absolutely win this race back over a length. Include.

7 Watsonville should either inherit the lead, or be able to sit right off the 3 Calm Sea, which could lead to a win here. Had the Twilight Derby all but wrapped up, but got caught in the blanket at the end. A shorter distance here should help; include.

And yes, Prat. He’s on 4 Almendares, the favorite. A blistering 1:34 over the mile last out at Del Mar, and another that got caught in that blanket in the Twilight. Prat, good at SA, include.

Top Selections: 4, 7, 6.

Race 10 Grade 1 La Brea 7F, dirt. 3YOF. $300,000.

A solid field of 10 in this one, with several prices that might strike.

3 Howl is in this field, and one to watch once we get to 2024. A late bloomer, trainer Brad Cox didn’t run her until October at Keeneland – and she won on first asking. He immediately shipped her to Maryland to run in a listed stakes, which she also won. I’m thinking they think they might be sitting on a monster; I don’t think LNJ ships otherwise. Include, and yes, Prat.

Howl will likely be chasing 9 Clearly Unhinged, a near winner two back at SA, and then a runner in the BC F&M sprint. No special notes, here – she’s fast and can win. Include.

2 Daddysruby has won four times – all on different surfaces (synth, turf, dry dirt, wet dirt). Got fast go last out at SA under Juan Hernandez – and loved it. I think she’s mega-live here.

Top selections: 3, 2, 9.

Pick 3 Play, starting race 8:
3 / 4,6,7 / 2,3,9 $1 Pick 3 is $9. $2 Pick 3 is $18.

Good luck – and happy Opening Day!

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