Key Races & Bets for Saturday March 26th and Sunday March 27, 2022

Santa Ana Stakes – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 7:12 PM Eastern 

I see one of three fillies and mares winning this race among nine entered – Keyflower, Queen Goddess or Going to Vegas. The first two open at 6 to 1 while the latter is likely to be favored. Second morning line choice Closing Remarks could be suspect here as she’s never run the distance, has a 3-4-2 overall record which suggests she may not want to win as much as others, and she comes into the race off a no-excuse third.

Keyflower made her North American debut last October, in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, at this 10 furlong trip. Sent off a 50/1 she didn’t run badly at all as she was beaten one and three-quarter lengths at the end. Two prior to that Keyflower finished second of 10 in a stakes at this 10 furlong turf trip, and she won a stakes in an 11 horse field at the nearly identical distance of one mile and three-sixteenths last summer before the E.P. Taylor. Then, rested four months, Keyflower returned as if she’d never been away to win at a mile last month here at Santa Anita and so making her second start off the layoff she has a BIG shot to post the upset by running back to her European form.

Queen Goddess posted the 14 to 1 upset in the opening day American Oaks on 12/26/21, which was run on dirt instead of turf as scheduled, although at this 10 furlong trip. That was for three year olds only but prior to that in a highly rated allowance race, Queen Goddess led very late and was beaten a head for second and another half-length for the win. She’s only run one bad race on turf, on a yielding course last fall, and her best race wins this on the square as it’s better than favorite Going to Vegas’ best race.

Going to Vegas loves the SA turf but isn’t a win machine, evidenced by a 5-4-0 record in 12 races, including a win in last year’s Santa Ana. The 102 Equibase figure earned last year as a four year old isn’t dominant one bit over the best of the newly turned four year olds Keyflower (100) and Queen Goddess (107), who both can improve off their recent efforts. I’ll use her on exacta, double and pick 3 tickets but I would not consider her for a win bet at her likely low odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win bet:  Keyflower and Queen Goddess at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

If both fillies are above that threshold, the best way to bet them both to win and to maximize our profit is to “Dutch” the bet, which means to prorate it based on the odds. Amwager.com has a free and easy to use Dutching Tool available where you can set the amount you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available to the bettor at Amwager.com

 

Exacta: Box Keyflower, Queen Goddess and Going to Vegas

 

Double:

Race 7: Keyflower, Queen Goddess, Going to Vegas

Race 8: Synthesis, California Street

 

Pick 3:

Race 7: Keyflower, Queen Goddess, Going to Vegas

Race 8: Synthesis, California Street

Race 9: Fluent, Pammy’s Ready, Delmona

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Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post Time 7:44 PM Eastern

I’ll admit I like true starter allowance races like this one, open to any horse which has started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2020, 2021 or 2022. There’s strategy in seeing if trainers are reading the condition book a few weeks out and claiming horses for these types of races where the purses are good and the horse can’t be claimed, also in finding horses which may have just qualified, or which qualified a while back and have been facing tougher.

 

All that being said, the uncoupled entry from the Tim Yakteen barn of Synthesis and California Street ticks most of the boxes, and with Synthesis opening at 8 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for California Street we have to start with him first. In 2021 Synthesis had a decent record of 2-2-3 in 9 races, earning almost $85K. He raced in identical level starter allowance races THREE TIMES, missing by a head in January and in September and winning in May. His odds in those races were 5 to 2, 4 to 5 and 5 to 2, but somehow he opens at 8 to 1 here even though he lost by a nose in his most recent start, showing he’s in top form. Baze rode him to that near miss last out and to BOTH wins last year. Yakteen just claimed Synthesis for $25K, so with a $24K winner’s share here and the fact the horse can’t be claimed, this could be very profitable for his new connections, particularly as the horse put in a  sparkling 47.6 half-mile drill a few days ago which was the best of 57 on the day.

 

California Street went four for seven last year, including one win for Yakteen in his only start for the trainer. Yakteen claimed him right back last out on 2/5 off a third place finish in a tougher 50K allowance/optional claiming race and prior to that the horse won four of five so could easily rebound to winning form here.

Handicapper Picks

Win bet:  Synthesis at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

California Street also has 5 to 2 fair odds but it’s unlikely he will meet that threshold.

 

Exacta: Synthesis and California Street over Synthesis, California Street, Fenestra and I’m Corfu

 

Trifecta: Synthesis and California Street over Synthesis, California Street, Fenestra and I’m Corfu over Synthesis, California Street, Fenestra and I’m Corfu

 

Optional Doubles (depending on whether we are live from pick three tickets played in race seven):

Race 8: Synthesis, California Street

Race 9: Fluent, Pammy’s Ready, Delmona

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Race 9 at Santa Anita – Post Time 8:15 PM Eastern

This is a great betting race as it’s a first level allowance for three year old fillies running six and one-half furlongs on the downhill turf with a field of 11. Three horses get preference when considering our wagers here – Fluent, Delmona and Pammy’s Ready, with the latter opening at double digit odds.

Fluent (who opens at 4 to 1) didn’t run much in two starts last year but as a more mature three year old, five weeks ago she won very impressively at six furlongs on the grass. She’s got impeccable breeding and should run even better second off the layoff, is perfect fit at this first allowance level, and is the hands of Hall-of-Fame trainer Dick Mandella, with a huge (for this barn) half-mile drill in 47 flat coming into the race signaling another top effort.

Delmona made her U.S. debut and first start after five months off last month and did so at this downhill turf trip, rallying from last of seven to make the lead and just getting beaten by a head on the wire. Whether it was the lack of experience or the time off which got her beat doesn’t matter because, like with Fluent, we can expect even better today second off the layoff and with Rispoli riding back.

The value lies with Pammy’s Ready¸ opening at pretty ridiculous odds of 15/1. I understand why, as she faded to sixth last out after leading early. BUT, that was a STAKES RACE. Not only will she appreciate the drop in class, the filly won gamely by a neck at a mile on grass right before that, with a 99 Equibase figure which is the BEST in the field. She missed by a nose in her only local turf sprint try, last November, rallying from fourth so on the cutback in distance, with a good outside post, Pammy’s Ready has every right to be part of the exacta at the very least and a decent shot to post the upset.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Pammy’s Ready to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Optionally, play an exacta box of Pammy’s Ready with all (which covers her finishing first, or second).

 

Exacta: Fluent, Pammy’s Ready and Delmona with Fluent, Pammy’s Ready, Delmona, She’s Bulletproof, She’s Got a Way and I Got a Gal.

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BONUS RACE – Sunday March 27th Sunland Park Derby – Race 11 at Sunland Park – Post Time – 7:15PM Eastern

Classic Moment finished third in the precursor to this race, the Mine That Bird Derby, on 2/27, making up two and one-half lengths on winner Straight Up G, who had led from the start, in the stretch. Not only will the extra sixteenth of a mile help this son of Classic Empire (whose Morello won the Gotham Stakes this year), but the jockey upgrade from Negron to Rosario is phenomenal and tells the world how serious trainer Asmussen is to win this race. Having improved from a 75 Equibase figure three back to 85 then to 91, Classic Moment could easily be a great low odds overlay win bet here, opening at 7 to 2.

 

Bye Bye Bobby was second in the Mine That Bird Derby, also making up ground late, and achieving a career-best 92 figure in the process. This Kentucky bred son of Quality Road cost $870,000 as a yearling and would be no surprise if improving enough to win this race.

 

Straight Up G will go to the front as usual, although he did sit second early before leading late, then coming up a neck shy of winning the Cal Cup Derby prior to that. His breeding suggests he should get nine furlongs and the 93 figure is the best last figure in the field, but it’s not dominant, and the two other contenders are both on a pattern for more improvement.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Classic Moment to win at 9 to 5 or more.

Bye Bye Bobby at 5 to 2 or more.

Bet both using a dutching tool if they are both above these odds.

 

I hesitate to play any exacta using the top three betting favorites, but an exacta box between Classic Moment and Bye Bye Bobby (and leaving out Straight Up G) appears worth the risk.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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