First Look: 10 graded stakes at Santa Anita opening weekend

First Look: 10 graded stakes at Santa Anita opening weekend
Photo: Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita has a heavy stakes schedule coming up this weekend, thanks in part to a delay in racing caused by nearby wildfires.

The star attraction will be the matchup of Bob Baffert stablemates Maximum Security and Improbable in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again stakes. It’s a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In contest for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.

Maximum Security will pursue his seventh consecutive win, a streak that dates back to the Haskell Stakes in July 2019. Since Baffert took over his training, the New Year’s Day colt won the San Diego Handicap (G2) in July and the Pacific Classic (G1) in August.

Improbable, meanwhile, has two straight G1 scores to his credit: The Whitney in August and the Hollywood Gold Cup in June. The City Zip colt has had three bullet works in a row, including 5 furlongs in 59.40 at Santa Anita on Monday, the fastest of 20 at the distance.

2020 Awesome Again (G1)

Here are the rest of next weekend’s graded-stakes lineup.

Friday, Sept. 25

Eddie D Stakes, G2
3-year-olds & up, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), $200,000

Chaos Theory goes for his third straight win after taking the Green Flash Handicap (G3) at Del Mar on Aug. 22 and an allowance optional claiming race at Churchill Downs in June for trainer John Sadler. The 5-year-old son of Curlin, campaigned by Hronis Racing, was claimed after that Churchill Downs score for $62,500.

Sparky Ville, a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride, looks to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Green Flash Handicap. That followed a July score in a five-furlong allowance optional claiming race at Del Mar for trainer Jeff Bonde.

2020 Eddie D. Stakes (G2)

Chillingworth Stakes, G3
Fillies & Mares, 3-year-olds & up, $100,000

Amuse, a lightly raced 5-year-old for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, exits a runner-up finish in the Aug. 21 Rancho Bernardo (G3). The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was third in the Great Lady M at Los Alamitos this summer.

Other possibles exiting the Rancho Bernardo are Unique Factor, who finished in fourth place, Mother of Dragons (sixth) and Into Chocolate (seventh).

2020 Chillingworth Stakes (G3)

Saturday, Sept. 26

American Pharoah Stakes, G1
2YO, 1 1/16 miles, $300,000

As a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In race, this contest could have implications for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Baffert is expected to enter Spielberg, a son of Union Rags who has yet to break his maiden, coming in second in a maiden special weight at Del Mar in August and in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in September.

He’s expected to face Doug O’Neill’s Team Merchants, a Nyquist colt who broke his maiden on second try at Saratoga last month, and Weston, who finished third in the Del Mar Futurity.

2020 American Pharoah Stakes (G1)

Rodeo Drive Stakes, G1
Fillies & mares, 3-year-olds & up, 11/4 miles (TURF), $300,000

Del Mar Oaks (G1) winner Red Lark is expected to return in this Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In race. It was the Ireland-bred filly’s first win since breaking her maiden at Santa Anita in February. She’s likely to take on another G1 winner, Lady Prancelot, who hasn’t scored in four tries since taking the American Oaks last December. And Bodhicitta is coming off a win in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) in August.

2020 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1)

Chandelier Stakes, G2
Fillies, 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, $200,000

Baffert’s impressive Princess Noor is a possibility for this Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In race. She’s undefeated in two starts, most recently the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on Sept. 6.

Forest Caraway could look to avenge her 6 1/2-length defeat in the Debutante for trainer Peter Miller. Also exiting the Debutante are Roll Up Mo Money, who finished fifth, and My Girl Red (sixth).

2020 Chandelier (G2)

John Henry Turf Championship, G2
3-year-olds & up, 1 1/4 miles (turf), $200,000

Breeders’ Cup Turf contender United looks to bounce back from his second-place finish in the Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 22.

Acclimate makes his first start since finishing ninth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.

And Kazan returns to graded-stakes company for the first time since 2018 off an eighth-place finish in an allowance optional claiming race at Del Mar in August.

2020 John Henry Turf Championship (G2)

Sunday, Sept. 27

Santa Anita Sprint Championship, G2
3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs, $200,000

Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) winner Collusion Illusion is expected to seek his fourth straight win in this Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In sprint.

Others expected from the Bing Crosby are seventh-place finisher Anyportinastorm and eighth-place Desert Law.

Three colts exiting the Pat O’Brien Handicap also are probables: winner C Z Rocket, second-place finisher Flagstaff and fifth-place finisher Giant Expectations.

2020 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2)

Zenyatta Stakes, G2
Fillies and mares, 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/16 miles, $200,000

In the final Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In race of the weekend, Venetian Harbor looks to score after losing to Swiss Skydiver, Speech and Gamine in her last three outs. The Munnings filly hasn’t won since Las Virgenes (G2) in February.

Bob Baffert is expected to have two entries: Fighting Mad, winner of the Clement L. Hirsch in August, and Stellar Sound, who hasn’t raced since finishing third in the Las Virgenes last out.

Ollie’s Candy has finished in the money but hasn’t won in his four races this year, including a second-place finish in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar in August.

2020 Zenyatta Stakes (G2)

Tokyo City Cup, G2
3 YO & up, 1 1/2 miles, $100,000

Contested at 1 1/2 miles on the main track, the Tokyo City is expected to include Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Combatant and Argentinean-import Mirinaque, who was fifth in the Aug. 22 Pacific Classic (G1) in his U.S. debut.

Tizamagician would stretch out to 10 furlongs after a sharp gate-to-wire win by 1 1/4 lengths going a mile on the main track during closing weekend at Del Mar.

2020 Tokyo City Cup (G2)

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