Santa Anita's traditional opening date is the day after Christmas and, of course, that is Saturday. So here is a look at the three graded races on the program, which fall consecutively, so there will be a pick three play as well.
Race 7- The Grade 3 $100,000 Sir Beaufort- I think this is the single in the sequence of the Pick Three. I don't normally like to do that in the first leg, but I believe that #6 The Usual Q.T. will not have any trouble extending the winning streak to six, especially after winning a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 in his last two starts.
Race 8- The Grade 1 $300,000 La Brea- The filly half of the back-to-back Grade 1 seven furlongs pair of races makes a case for six of them to win. #1 Kays And Jays went nearly wire-to-wire in winning last out at Santa Anita in a filly-restricted stakes on November 9. #3 Dani Reese gets Kent Desormeaux up and has won three times in four starts, including one at this distance. #4 Amazed By Grace is currently working a The Usual Q.T.-like win streak of five in a row at Charles Town and Philadelphia. #5 Evita Argentina is actually the one I contemplated leaving out, which means she probably wins. Her last win was at this distance in the Grade 2 A Gleam at Hollywood. #8 Mother Ruth is an attractive longshot in here for Bob Baffert, sired by 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, Speightstown. However, she has only one start on a synthetic track. #10 Gabby's Golden Gal won the Grade 1 Acorn two back at one mile and has a win and a place in two prior Santa Anita tries.
Race 9- The Grade 1 $300,000 Malibu- I will go four-deep in the male version of the seven-furlong Santa Anita Saturday sprint (how about some alliteration?). #1 Misremembered, oddly enough, has never been this short before. His previous shortest race was one mile on the turf in his debut. Victor Espinoza rides the Baffert trainee here. #5 Mythical Power hit the board in all three of his previous runs at Santa Anita. However, he has been off since May, so he might be iffy here. #10 New Bay is a Mandella runner that scored a win at this distance last time out on October 18 at Santa Anita. All three of his previous wins, in fact, have come at Santa Anita. Finally, there is #13 M One Rifle, who has never missed the money in seven lifetime appearances. All of those came with Mike Smith in the irons.
Here is the play for the Pick Three:
SANTA ANITA Race 7- $1 PK3 6 with 1-3-4-5-8-10 with 1-5-10-13
Remember, They Are Off takes no responsibility for any wagers made in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. There will be no blog post on Friday and They Are Off will return on Monday, so I would like to wish everyone out there who checks this blog from time to time and even those that don't, A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!