Photo: Benoit Photo
At first glance, the G1 Shoemaker Mile and the G1 Vanity might not look like anything special based solely on the number of entrants each drew. At second glance, however, both fields are anything but ho-hum.
The Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile drew a short field of seven, but the stats the collective brings to the table are pretty astounding. Together, they have won 25 of 45 starts at a mile on the lawn and finished in the money a total of 37 of 45 times. They have 19 graded stakes victories and a total of 5 Grade/Group 1 wins. Obviously has been pegged as the 9-5 morning line favorite, but with a slew of formidable foes lined up to take him on, he faces a tough test.
Rapidly improving Jack Milton will try to make it 3 in a row and stay undefeated for the year when he takes his show on the road this weekend. Already grade 1 placed, the War Front colt seeks to collect his first career Grade 1 victory and third career graded stake. Winning Prize also seeks to stay undefeated on the year and looks to collect his third win in 2014. A turf mile specialist, he's never been out of the exacta in 6 tries under those distance/surface conditions.
Summer Front and Silentio simply serve to add more intrigue to an already tough field. Much like Winning Prize, Summer Front has never been out of the trifecta in 6 starts going a mile on the turf. While Silentio has run out of the money under those conditions, he has only done so twice in 9 starts. Tom's Tribute and Pulpit's Express round out the field.
Selections: Winning Prize, Obviously, and Jack Milton
Grace Hall continues her comeback in the Grade 1 Vanity. Injured during the running of last year's Apple Blossom, the 5-year old Empire Maker mare ran a competitive second last out in the G2 Ruffian. After facing the tough Fiftyshadesofhay last month, she faces an equally, if not taller, task when squaring off with six rivals.
Leading the charge is the morning line favorite Let Faith Arise. This year has easily been the filly's best year to date, and there's no reason to believe that she shouldn't continue to vie for dominance in the Golden State. Though she didn't run up to snuff in her last outing, Iotapa looks like she could be equally formidable. She has never been out of the exacta at Santa Anita and has run consistently well against this bunch.
Scherzinger, at 4: 3-0-1 at Santa Anita, obviously loves the track, but her biggest question will be whether or not she can stretch out to a route of ground. Magic Union has turned into a useful sort this year and can hardly be discounted after giving Close Hatches a run for her money earlier in the year. Yahilwa and Irish Presence complete the field.
Selections: Let Faith Arise, Iotapa, and Grace Hall