Expert picks: Gold Cup at Santa Anita day best bets

May 26, 2019 01:55pm

Santa Anita Park is offering a special Memorial Day program on Monday with three Grade 1 races sharing the spotlight. Let's analyze those races with the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) the headliner featuring Gift Box, who's looking to start 3-for-3 on the West Coast. Free past performances are available for all three events, too.

Gamely Stakes (G1)
Race 7, 7:03 p.m. ET

The Favorites

#1 Rymska (5-2) frequently finishes in the exacta for Chad Brown. It is interesting that she is 0-for-1 at Santa Anita (fifth in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2016), and she was off the board at Del Mar in the Matriarch (G1) last winter. Maybe she does not like Southern California, but she handles just about any other turf course. 

#4 Vasilika (8-5) went 9-for-11 in 2018 and is 3-for-3 this year. The versatile win machine loves this course and distance, and she is strictly the one to beat. 

Value Win Contenders

#2 Ollie’s Candy (4-1) fired exacta shots in all five starts last year, and this is her first outing since August 2018. Joel Rosario rides for new trainer John Sadler and the versatile filly is probably ready to roll off the bench. There is not much pace in this race and she will probably attempt a theft.

Live Longshots

#7 Elysea’s World (6-1) improved in her second start in Southern California in the Santa Ana (G3), and Drayden Van Dyke knows the stretch runner now. She does some of her best work at this distance.   

Wagering Strategies

#2 to win

Exacta 2/1-4

Exacta 1-4/2

Trifecta 1-2-4/1-2-4/7

Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1)
Race 8 - 7:33 p.m. ET

The Favorites

#5 Gift Box (8-5) has captured his last three starts, including local stakes wins under Joel Rosario in the San Antonio (G2) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1). I like his tactical speed. He could easily score again. 

#7 Vino Rosso (5-2) looked good winning his flat mile return in the March 9 Stymie, and did not get any pace help in an even fourth in the Carter (G1) on April 6. He won the Wood Memorial (G2) last year and fits on numbers. 

Value Win Contenders

#1 Blitzkrieg (6-1) is interesting on the surface switch. He could have run in the Shoemaker Mile (G1), but the handicap division is weak, and Doug O’Neill is taking a big swing instead. The sharp gelding has won his last four starts and should be forwardly placed from the rail under Rafael Bejarano.

Live Longshots

#3 Higher Power (20-1) is now competing for Hronis Racing and John Sadler. The New Orleans transplant exits a sharp win in the mud at Fair Grounds and was flattered when the runner-up returned to score. Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the call with 4-year-old gelding trying to get involved late. 

Wagering Strategies

#1 to win

Exacta Box 1-5

Trifecta 1-5/1-3-5-7/1-3-5-7

Shoemaker Mile (G1)
Race 9 - 8:03 p.m. ET

The Favorite

#8 Delta Prince (5-2) is a flat mile turf specialist exiting a nice off-the-pace win in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland on April 12. Joel Rosario hops aboard and he could easily ship and win.

Value Win Contenders

#2 Sharp Samurai (4-1) makes his first start in seven-plus months, and he runs well fresh. He is 5-for-6 at Santa Anita and John Velazquez should have options with the versatile sort. 

#4 River Boyne (6-1) could not overcome the outside post and wide trip against Blitzkrieg in the San Francisco Mile (G3) at Golden Gate Fields on April 27. He is 6-for-8 at Santa Anita, and Flavien Prat knows him well. 

Live Longshots

#7 Desert Stone (12-1) does his best work at Santa Anita and frequently outruns his odds under Geovanni Franco. He might not be able to win but can definitely finish in the money. 

Wagering Strategies

#2 to win

Exacta Box 2-8

Trifecta 2-8/2-4-7-8/2-4-7-8

Trifecta 2-4-8/ALL/7


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