Picks and Preview for Santa Anita ft. Zenyatta Stakes – Sunday, October 3

    All the picks, analysis, and previews you need for Santa Anita ft. Zenyatta Stakes on Sunday, October 3.


    On Sunday, October 3, Santa Anita concluded a full weekend of racing with a fun card that features several stakes races including two graded stakes races, The Chillingworth and Zenyata. I break all three races down on the podcast and you get my Win, Place, and Show predictions. Additionally, play along at StableDuel where you can enter contests for $10, $50, or $500 and win big. How? Download the StableDuel app and then pick 10 horses with your $50,000 fantasy budget from the fields at Santa Anita on Friday. If your stable comes out on top, you’re a winner! In addition to picking the winners below, I’ll also include the “price” in the StableDuel contest.

    Race 1

    Post time: 4:00 PM ET

    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs

    Type: Unzip Me Stakes

    Age: 3-years-old (fillies)

    Surface: Downhill Turf

    Overview: Nice stakes race to start the Sunday card with a bunch of solid values and evenly matched horses. Hamwood Flier (3-1) is the morning-line favorite, but never started a race in the United States and typically, I’d like to see how she would perform on the Santa Anita turf before feeling comfortable betting her to win. The outside post is to her advantage and while she’s run well over in Ireland, she’s not been dominant. Burgoo Alley (7-2) is a safe bet to hit the board and bested Hamwood Flier overseas when they were younger. She’s also beaten several other horses in this field at longer distance, but a cutback to 6 ½ furlongs might open the door to some other reasserting themselves. One of those is Thrilling (5-1) who looked good at the sprint level but got cooked when trying to maintain her front-running style at a mile. She’s won before at Santa Anita at this distance, and I like the value. Zero Tolerance (6-1) is an intriguing horse who switched from turf to dirt last time out and looked good doing so but is now back on grass and she’ll be competing with at least one other filly for the early lead. My final value play here is Equilove (6-1) who had a bad race last time out at the Grade 2 San Clemente but is taking a huge step back in competition and distance. I like that combination and love her value to hit the board.

    Win: Equilove ($5,000)

    Place: Burgoo Alley ($7,500)

    Show: Thrilling ($6,000)

    Race 2

    Post time: 4:30 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/8 miles

    Type: Maiden Special Weight $61,000 purse

    Age: 3-years-old and up

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: In this six-horse field there does appear to be three very clear favorites in Prince Abama (9-5), Street Ruckus (2-1), and Lone Scout (3-1). Of the other three, I think Offlee Naughty (8-1) has the best chance of crashing the party and should be used to add some potential value on deeper exotic bets. Of the other three, Lone Scout is the most consistent in that he’s run third or fourth in all seven of his career races and those have mostly come against much larger fields, so I like his chances to hit the board here in a smaller field where he’s clearly one of the strong horses. He’s also run the 1 1/8-mile distance and finished a strong third losing by a length. Street Ruckus keeps getting faster and another incremental jump might put him in the winner’s circle, but he’s switching back to his weaker surface (turf) after running a strong second on dirt and posting his best speed figure. Prince Abama finished second to a horse I really like, Subconscious, last time out but he has not had the sharpest workouts. 

    Win: Prince Abama ($9,200)

    Place: Lone Scout ($8,000)

    Show: Offiee Naughty ($3,000)


    Race 3

    Post time: 5:00 PM ET

    Distance: 5 furlongs

    Type: $32,000 Maiden Claiming

    Age: 2-years-old (fillies)

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: None of the horses in this field have shown much to make you feel confident in them winning, but Empire Pass (5-2) was slightly better than I’m a Giraffe (2-1) last time out and that might just be enough to convince me to go in her direction. Additionally, Empire Pass is making her second career start and you would expect to see some improvement whereas I’m a Giraffe is making her fourth career start and has regressed from a speed figure perspective each time out. Jacroda’s Devil (5-2) is likely hoping that Empire Pass and I’m a Giraffe wear each other out up front and allow her to run into the lead, but I’m not sure that will happen. First-time runner Sangre Azul (6-1) is worth including as the other two 6-1 shots don’t offer much intrigue.

    Win: Empire Pass ($8,500)

    Place: Jacroda’s Devil ($8,500)

    Show: Sangre Azul ($5,000)

    Race 4

    Post time: 5:30 PM ET

    Distance: 6 furlongs

    Type: $50,000 Allowance Optional Claiming

    Age: 3-years-old and up

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: We have a big field in the fourth race that provides us with the opportunity to reasonably chase some value. I have my eye on the two Jeff Mullins horses here, Elusive Threat (12-1) and Newpark (8-1). Let’s start with Elusive Threat who is running his first race in the United States after a solid start to his career in England. He’s making a transition from synthetic to turf but has worked out nicely at Santa Anita to this point and has performed well at six furlongs. Newpark has a couple of stateside races under his belt, including a strong win at five furlongs last time out against several other horses in the field. Perhaps the front-running style he adopted for the last race unlocked something, which he can tap into again. Lane Way (3-1) is a consistent horse who is getting class relief and cutting back in distance, so he’ll be a factor at the end, and I love how Richard Mandella is training him by mixing in six-furlong workouts with bullet three-furlong workouts leading up to the race. The potential issue is that there are going to be a bunch of horses vying for the lead and depending on who gets it will have an impact on the outcome. Keep your eye on Gregory’s Pride (6-1) as a horse that might just be rounding back into form after an eight-month layoff. He ran a competitive fourth in his first time out and won three weeks later.  

    Win: Gregory’s Pride ($5,000)

    Place: Lane Way ($8,000)

    Show: Newpark ($3,000)

    Race 5

    Post time: 6:00 PM ET

    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs

    Type: Chillingworth Stakes – Grade III

    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: We kick off the first of two graded stakes races with a group of horses trying to make an impression on graded stakes winner Ce Ce (6-5), who just recently finished third at the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga. Bella Vita (3-1) ran the best race of her life last time out and is now stepping up in class, but she’ll do it without her most recent jockey, Flavien Prat, who has chosen to ride Scotish Star instead. Eyes Open (20-1) will likely serve at the early speed, but her fractions when setting the pace aren’t unreasonable, but she doesn’t have the pedigree to suggest that she’ll be able to keep up with the upper-tier coming down the stretch. Proud Emma (4-1), like Bella Vita, ran her best race last time out but did it at a Grade 3 race in which she outpaced Scotish Star. Additionally, she took a step back in distance and I think that’s exactly what she needed as she’s 2-2 at hitting the board at 6 ½ furlongs. Scotish Star (5-2) may go for the lead and Flavien Prat might try to wire the field based upon the most recent bullet workout. Ultimately, much this is somewhat of an academic discussion since Ce Ce can win without her best effort.

    Win: Ce Ce ($9,800)

    Place: Proud Emma ($7,000)

    Show: Bella Vita ($8,000)

    Race 6

    Post time: 6:30 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/8 miles

    Type: $20,000 Allowance Optional Claiming

    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: Determining who best steps up in distance is the defining question of the race. Big Mama Sue (15-1) is the only horse who has won at this distance previously, which happened three races ago. Based upon that, I’m a little surprised at her odds while acknowledging she didn’t exactly burn up the track with her speed in that race. Warren’s Candy Girl (5-2) is the morning line favorite and a good horse but is a miler who, at times, struggles with fatigue. I really dislike when trainers take a horse that is a successfully known quantity and one distance and move them up when it’s obvious it’s not their comfort zone. Lena’s Big Day (12-1) is another horse that caught my eye because she was progressing nicely in her first two starts but had a bad trip last time out and was walked off. Secret Square (5-1) is transitioning back to turf after running his last eight races on dirt. I’m worried about fatigue as this will be his fourth race in eight weeks, he’s taking a step up in class, and he’s the only early speed. Big Clare (3-1) may be an “every other race” horse and this is the race where she’ll pop based off her disappointing effort last time. Eddie’s New Dream (4-1) is the better bet though as she’s beaten some of the better horses in the field and has been posting the best workout figures.

    Win: Eddie’s New Dream ($7,000)

    Place: Warrens Candy Girl ($8,500)

    Show: Lena’s Big Day ($750)


    Race 7

    Post time: 7:00 PM ET

    Distance: 6 furlongs

    Type: Maiden Special Weight $61,000 purse

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Everyone will be looking at the inside three post positions in this race as Sir London (5-2), Winning Map (8-5), and Marco Polo (7-2) are the three biggest favorites. I’m somewhat surprised that Marco Polo has the best odds of the three considering he’s the only known quantity as the other two are first-time starters. Clampett (12-1) is another known quantity, but he had a poor showing last time out at a mile. Going back to six furlongs should help and he ran second behind one of Baffert’s more impressive two-year-olds, Murray, two races ago. No Limitation (10-1) is transitioning to dirt after his debut on turf in which he finished fourth and didn’t break cleanly, which is more of a problem at the sprint distance. Ultimately, this comes down to whether I decide to drink the Winning Map Kool-Aid. There is no doubt he’s had some nice workouts and Baffert seems to have an endless stable of two-year-olds, but I’ll lean toward the known over the unknown when it comes to juveniles. 

    Win: Marco Polo ($7,500)

    Place: Clampett ($750)

    Show: Sir London ($8,500)

    Race 8

    Post time: 7:30 PM ET

    Distance: 1 mile

    Type: Zuma Beach Stakes

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: I understand why Mackinnon (8-5) is the morning line favorite based upon past performances, but two-year-olds are all about projection and there are a few other horses I think will project better in this race. Thirty Four Coupe (4-1) lost to Mackinnon last time out but it was his first try at turf and he showed great improvement between his first and second race, which makes me think there will be at least a modest improvement for his second race on turf. Additionally, in that same race, Silver Surfer (7-2) made his first career start in the United States and typically foreign horses improve over time as they get more accustomed to American turf and racing. Law Abiding (12-1) provides some potential value on the backend of a horse that flashed a strong kick at five furlongs and should take to the mile distance okay based on his workouts and pedigree. Il Capitano (8-1) is the other value play given his victory at a mile, but he hasn’t progressed quite the same way others have, but his running style will ensure he’s a factor.

    Win: Silver Surfer ($7,500)

    Place: Thirty Four Coupe ($7,000)

    Show: Il Capitano ($3,000)


    Race 9

    Post time: 8:00 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/16 miles

    Type: Zenyatta Stakes – Grade II

    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: The Zenyatta boasts a competitive field that should produce some drama down the stretch. Bob Baffert’s Private Mission (5-2), who was scratched from last week’s Cotillion Stakes at Parx, is back and should be sent to the early lead. However, she’ll be joined by Samurai Charm (10-1), Miss Stormy D (15-1), and Lady Kate (8-1), so there could be a lot of early speed, which could result in some breakneck fractions. While that might seem to indicate that Private Mission could get cooked, the difference between her and the others is that she’s got incredible speed and endurance as shown by a recent 1:11 six-furlong workout. I’m somewhat shocked by the morning line odds on As Time Goes By (2-1) as she’s fallen off a cliff the last two starts after racking up years of impressive showings. Her trainer, Bob Baffert, made a jockey change and brought on John Velazquez, so perhaps that will make a difference, but I do not like her odds. If this race was in two weeks, I’d love Samurai Charm a lot more than I like her in this spot seeing as she just ran two weeks ago. The horse does like to run as evidence by winning back-to-back races within eight days of each other in August, but this seems like a quick turnaround for a step up in class. California Kook (8-1) should provide some nice value as a horse that has transitioned to dirt the last few races and looked good in the process. She’s run against top competition on the turf circuit, so running against top fillies and mares won’t intimidate her. Miss Bigly has had a nice 2021 but this is a slight step up in class and while she likes the distance, I’m not sure if she’s going to like the speed in the race. However, I love the value of Miss Stormy D who just won a race at a strong pace at 1 1/16-mile last time out.

    Win: Private Mission ($8,500)

    Place: California Kook ($3,000)

    Show: Miss Stormy D ($500)

    Race 10

    Post time: 8:30 PM ET

    Distance: 1 mile

    Type: Surfer Girl Stakes

    Age: 2-years-old (fillies)

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: A competitive group of fillies closes out the card. What’s fascinating about the field is you essentially have two groups of fillies who have competed against each other in the past. One group has run at the mile distance with the other group running at five furlongs. Obviously, there is more projection with the sprint group and there are legitimate question marks about whether they’ll take to the distance. I’m a little surprised there is such a gap between Helens Well (3-1) and Liam’s Dove (5-1) given that the latter knocked off the former last time out. Everything I wrote about in Race 8 still applies to this group as it’s all about projection and the previous race the two of them ran is a great example. In their first showdown, Helens Well overtook Liam’s Dove down the stretch and won. The next time, Liam’s Dove showed growth and held on for a win with nearly identical fractions. Dolly May (8-1) is no slouch and represents great value for a filly that should improve after her debut in the United States. Meanwhile, I believe that one of the duo of Brandon’smylawyer (6-1) or Sterling Crest (10-1) will nicely graduate to a longer distance. The X-factor is Saturday Nite Girl (8-1) who will go to the lead and that could make things uncomfortable for Liam’s Dove and open the door for the late kickers.

    Win: Dolly May ($3,000)

    Place: Helens Well ($8,000)

    Show: Hemmerle ($3,000)

    Get all of Matthew’s horse racing coverage by following him on Twitter at @failedtomenace, by subscribing to Amalfi Media’s YouTube channel, and following The Win Place Show podcast.


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