Much attention has been paid to the
Santa Anita Handicap and San Felipe Stakes, both of which will take
place Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park. However, the other
three stakes races on the power-packed card are no less entertaining
to look at, and they feature plenty of accomplished horses.
The Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile, for
instance, may be the West Coast's best turf race since last
November's Breeders' Cup Mile. Wise Dan won't run, but that race's
second and third-place finishers, Za Approval and Silentio, will go
postward, and they figure to be two of the affair's betting
favorites. Additionally, Arcadia winner Winning Prize will look for
his second win in a row, Lochte has shipped east after his huge upset
in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, former Breeders' Cup Turf
Sprint hero Regally Ready seeks to continue his renaissance as a turf
miler, and multiple graded stakes-winner Optimizer makes his first
start since last summer's Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
That race is immediately preceded by
the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes, which drew a Grade 1-caliber field.
3-1 morning line favorite Shakin It Up has emerged as one of
California's top older horses after wins in the Malibu and Strub
Stakes, but he'll have to overcome the far outside post in this
10-horse field. The race also attracted Palos Verdes winner Wild Dude, reigning San Carlos champ Sahara Sky, and Cal Cup Sprint winner
Finally, the ungraded China Doll Stakes
drew a massive 13-horse field. On the Backstreets has won two in a
row and is the tepid 7/2 choice on the morning line, but she figures
to have plenty of competition. Diversy Harbor and Nashoba's Gold both
won at first asking in their most recent starts, Full Ransom won the
Grade 3 Miesque two back, and the monstrous field could make the the
race less about pure talent than sheer racing luck.
Saturday's first post is set for 12
p.m. Pacific time. The day's festivities include a beer festival, and
the first 15,000 fans to arrive at the Great Race Place will receive
free tickets to this year's Breeders' Cup Friday card.