With the Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby paused until Jan. 22, fillies take the spotlight Saturday.
Under the Stars (8-5) leads a field of six lined up for the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes. Post time from Santa Anita is 7:06 p.m. EST, with TVG showing the seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies.
The Santa Ynez pays out Road to the 2022 Kentucky Oaks points on a 10-4-2-1 basis. This is the first of four Oaks preps scheduled this spring in Southern California, ahead of the Las Virgenes (10-4-2-1), Santa Ysabel (50-20-10-5), and Santa Anita Oaks (100-40-20-10).
Bob Baffert trains the Pioneerof the Nile filly Under the Stars for Coolmore owners. After third-place finishes in her Santa Anita debut and the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar, she broke her maiden Dec. 11 at Los Alamitos.
Jockey Flavien Prat has been aboard Under the Stars for two of her three starts and stays aboard Saturday. The filly is ineligible for the Oaks points this race awards due to Baffert’s two-year suspension from racing at Churchill Downs.
Big Switch (9-5) is off to a 2-for-2 start in her career for trainer John Sadler. She won her Del Mar debut and then, on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile undercard, beat local California-breds Nov. 5 in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes.
Awake at Midnyte (3-1) was second last out Nov. 27 in Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3) for trainer Doug O’Neill. Bob Hess Jr. trains Miss Mattie B (5-1), who graduated on the same Del Mar card in her fourth start.
Baffert’s 2021 Santa Ynez winner Kalypso finished her season by winning the La Brea Stakes (G1). The last winner of this race to go on to take the Kentucky Oaks was Goodbye Halo in 1988 for Hall of Fame trainer Charles Whittingham.
Here is a look at the field for the 2022 Santa Ynez Stakes (trainer and jockey in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Under the Stars (Bob Baffert, Flavien Prat), 8-5
2. Big Shamrock (Dan Blacker, Abel Cedillo), 20-1
3. Big Switch (John Sadler, John Velazquez), 9-5
4. Mimajoon (Jonathan Wong, Kyle Frey), 10-1
5. Awake At Midnyte (Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez), 3-1
6. Miss Mattie B (Bob Hess Jr., Mike Smith), 5-1
TimeformUS’ pace projections show Mimajoon going out to an early lead under jockey Kyle Frey, followed by favorite Under the Stars.
Visit Horse Racing Nation’s free past performances page for more information on both the Santa Ynez and Gulfstream Park’s Tropical Turf (G3).
Kentucky Oaks points top 10
1. Echo Zulu, 30
2. Juju’s Map, 18
3. Hidden Connection, 12
4. Dream Lith, 10
5. Nest, 10
6. Ain’t Easy, 10
7. North County, 10
8. Mama Rina, 5
9. Tarabi, 4
10. Cairo Memories, 4
Other Saturday stakes
Here is a look at other stakes races taking place Saturday across the U.S. Post times are EST, with the races shown on TVG.
3:50 p.m. – $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes, 4-and-up New York-breds, 7 furlongs, Aqueduct
My Boy Tate (6-5) looks for a seventh career stakes win in the Say Florida Sandy, an event the 8-year-old won back in 2018. Jockey Eric Cancel will get a leg up on the Boys At Tosconova gelding for trainer Michelle Nevin. Gary Sciacca trains Lobsta (8-5), last-out winner of a New York Stallion Series Stakes event Dec. 5 at Aqueduct. Alpha Chi Rho (6-1) steps up to stakes company off a Dec. 27 allowance score at Laurel Park for trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon.
4:37 p.m. – $100,000 Tropical Turf Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, 1 mile (turf), Gulfstream Park
Value Proposition (8-5), a two-time stakes winner last year, aims to make the grade for trainer Chad Brown in the first start of his 6-year-old season. Jockey Paco Lopez rides the Dansili ridgling. Todd Pletcher trains Largent (9-5), a Grade 2 winner making his first start since finishing second last January in the local Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1). Phat Man (5-1), a Grade 3 winner dating to 2020 for trainer Kent Sweezey, was seventh Oct. 12 at Parx in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes.
Lopez to ride Tropical Turf favorite with Ortiz out
4:46 p.m. – $150,000 Pippin Stakes, 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 mile, Oaklawn Park
Coach (9-5) is favored for trainer Brad Cox in the Pippin, part of a series of races that includes the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2), and $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. will be up on the 4-year-old Commissioner filly, a stakes winner who enters off a local Dec. 17 allowance score. Steve Asmussen trains Josie (5-2), a stakes winner who was fifth Nov. 13 at Laurel Park in the Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes. Miss Bigly (5-2), another stakes victor, was third Nov. 20 in Churchill Downs’ Chilukki Stakes (G3) for trainer Phil D’Amato.