Another horse racing weekend, more Graded Stakes at Santa Anita Park. While Santa Anita already has a few Graded races in 2023, this weekend marks the Park’s biggest weekend thus far. Sanita is hosting five Graded Stakes events, with three on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Here is a look at two of the stakes races on Saturday. The Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Grade III Thunder Road Stakes.
Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes
The $200,000 Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes is part of the Road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Four three-year-old colts will go one and one-sixteenth miles. Post-time is 4:07 p.m. (ET).
The winner gets $120,000, a trophy, and 20 Kentucky Derby Prep points. Since there are just four runners, all competitors will earn money and Derby Prep points. Bob Baffert trains all four horses.
1. Arabian Lion (7-5): The son of Justify is coming off a fifth-place finish in the GII Los Alamitos (Dec. 17) as the overwhelming favorite, who faded after hitting the three-quarters pole. Arabian Lion won his Maiden Special Weight debut and then finished second in an allowance optional claiming at Keeneland on Nov. 4.
2. Newgate (8-5): The son of Into Mischief is the most experienced horse in the field. Newgate is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 8, marking his second straight second place in the Grade III event (Bob Hope Stakes). He has a 5-1-2-0 record, having finished fifth in his Grade I starts.
3. Worcester (9-5): The son of Empire Maker is winless in his two career starts. Worcester did close well in his last Maiden Special Weight race at Santa Anita on Jan. 15 to finish second though he still lost by over a length. Worcester, who finished fourth in his debut, is racing for the third time in less than two months.
4. Hard to Figure (8-1): The son of Hard Spun is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Bob Hope Stakes on Nov. 20. He broke his maiden in the $75,000 Capitole Stakes at Los Alamitos in September after finishing third in last two Maiden Special Weight outings.
With the competitors being so young and so few runners, this race is hard to predict. The exception is that a Baffert horse will win and finish second, third, and last.
Prediction: 1. Newgate 2. Worcester 3. Arabian Lion 4. Hard to Figure
Best Bet. Newgate To Win
Grade III Thunder Road Stakes
The Grade III Thunder Road Stakes is a one-mile turf race with a purse of $100,000. 11 male horses who are four years old and upwards will go to post at 7.53 p.m. (ET). The winner will get
$60,000 and a trophy.
1. Earls Rock (5-1). The 5-year-old Irish gelding has three wins and five top 3 finishes in six starts. He won by a head the last time in a one-and-one-sixteenth-mile optional claiming event. Earls Rock is a stalker who is a contender here.
2. Du Jour (15-1): Du Jour is the highest earner in the field and has finished in the money in Grade I and Grade 2 events, winning the GII American Turf Stakes in 2021. The 5-year-old has not raced in over a year and hasn’t won a race in nearly 21 months. Pass.
3. Anaconda (6-1): The 6-year-old hose had a great 2022 season, winning three of nine events and finishing in the top 3 on three other occasions while winning over $238,000 in money. In November, he finished in the money in the last four outings, coming in second in the six-furlong Acqueduct Turf Sprint Championship. Anaconda is a stalker who is a contender, although I like him more in an exotic bet.
4. Bob and Jackie (15-1): One of the older horses, Bob and Jackie, is the most experienced runner and has the second most earnings. The 7-year-old has 11 top-3 finishes, including four victories, in 18 starts.
He has been on the Graded Stakes tour for the last five races, picking up one win in the GIII San Gabriel Stakes in 2021. Longshot who is alive that I will consider in exotic bets.
5. Kiss Today Goodbye (30-1): More of a dirt horse as the 6-year-old, Kiss Today Goodbye, is 0-for-5 on the turf. He has been on the Graded Stakes circuit for the last eight races, finishing seventh (Joe Hernandez Stakes) in his first race in 10 months. Pass as Kiss Today Goodbye has yet to be competitive in most of his Graded Stakes events.
6. Irideo (15-1) – The 7-year-old Argentine gelding has four wins and three second-place finishes in 13 turf races. He has three top 3 finishes in eight races Stateside, finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Joe Hernandez Stakes on Dec. 31. Pass as Irideo, who has finished fifth in each of the last three Graded Stakes races, could be more consistent.
7. There Goes Harvard (8-1): The 5-year-old horse is a versatile competitor is a winner who has hit the board in 11 of 13 races, including all three of his turf affairs, with two wins. There Goes Harvard has not raced since finishing last among nine horses in the GII San Diego Handicap at the end of July. Contender.
8. Air Force Red (3-1): It has been all or nothing for Air Force Red, who has won five of his 10 races while finishing out of the money in the other five events. The five-year-old has won his last two outings, both stakes events – going gate-to-wire in the GII Joe Hernandez. The favorite.
9. Hit the Road (5-1): The 6-year-old has the most career victories in the field on American soil, though he went winless in two outings last year. Hit the Road was a no-show the last time out, finishing last in the 10-horse field in the Joe Hernandez. Pass as he is racing for just the third time since October 2021.
10. Dark Shift (8/1): The 5-year-old Great Britain horse is making his second start on U.S. soil, finishing fifth in an allowance race in Keeneland in October. Dark Shift is tied with Hit the Road for most career victories in the field. Consider using in exotics.
12. Cabo Spirit (6/1): Although Cabo Spirit has merely split half his 16 races on the dirt and turf, he has fared better on the grass. The youngest horse in the field, the 4-year-old gelding has four wins, and seven top 3 finishes in nine career start on the turf.
Cabo Spirit, coming off a fifth-place finish in the GI Hollywood Stakes at Delmar, starts from the far outside post and will not have anyone to his immediate inside due to the scratch of Beaudacious. Contender.
This is a competitive race and an excellent betting opportunity with no overwhelming favorite. I like six of the runners with Air Force Red, Cabo Spirit, and There Goes Harvard the best. I also like Earls Rock, Hit the Road, and Anaconda.
Order of finish 1. Air Force Red 2. Cabo Spirit 3. Earls Rock 4. There Goes Harvard 5. Hit the Road 6. Dark Side 7.Bob and Jackie. 8. Anaconda 9. Irideo 10 Kiss Today Goodbye 11. Du Jour
Best Bet Cabo Spirit to Show
Others: Exacta Box: Air Force Red/ Cabo Spirit/ Earl Rock or Air Force Red/ Cabo Spirit/ There Goes Harvard