While racing fans wait just one more week for Kentucky Derby 2023, Santa Anita hosts Saturday’s biggest race.
Adare Manor (8-5) is the morning-line favorite for the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes. Post time is 8:07 p.m., with FanDuel TV showing the 1 1/16-mile event for 4-and-up fillies and mares.
Bob Baffert has won the Santa Maria five times overall and three times since 2017. The Hall of Fame trainer saddles Adare Manor in pursuit of his sixth win in this event.
Adare Manor made the grade February 2022 at Santa Anita by winning the Las Virgenes Stakes (G3). She was runner up last spring in both the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) and the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico.
In her last race, Adare Manor won March 31 in a one-mile allowance event at Santa Anita. Jockey Juan Hernandez stays aboard the 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly, who is owned by Michael Lund Petersen.
Big Switch (2-1) finished a head shy of Adare Manor last out in that allowance race. Trained by John Sadler, her resume includes Del Mar and Santa Anita stakes victories.
Kirstenbosch (4-1), another Sadler entry, won the local La Canada Stakes (G3) three starts back in January. In her last race, she was third April 8 in Santa Anita’s Monrovia Stakes (G3).
Bellamore (4-1) shipped to Turfway Park for her last start, running third in the Latonia Stakes over an all-weather surface March 25. She returns to her familiar confines of Southern California to race for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Santa Maria Stakes (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Kirstenbosch (John Sadler, Kazushi Kimura), 4-1
2. Adare Manor (Bob Baffert, Juan Hernandez), 8-5
3. Big Switch (John Sadler, Joe Bravo), 2-1
4. Smoothlikebuttah (Steve Knapp, Tiago Pereira), 8-1
5. Mongolian Panther (Librado Barocio, Geovanni Franco), 15-1
6. Bellamore (Simon Callaghan, Ramon Vazquez), 4-1
TimeformUS pace projections show Adare Manor taking the lead under jockey Juan Hernandez in a race that should favor runners on or near the early pace.
Other Saturday stakes
Here is a look at other stakes races of note taking place Saturday across the U.S. All post times are EDT.
5 p.m. – $100,000 Providencia Stakes (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 1 3/8 miles (turf), Santa Anita, FanDuel TV
Ancient Peace (8-5) is off to a 2-for-3 start to her career and makes her stakes bow Saturday for trainer John Sadler. Jockey Juan Hernandez will be up on the War Front filly, winner of a local allowance race April 8. Doug O’Neill trains Broadway Girls (5-2), a Santa Anita stakes winner who was fourth March 26 in the local Angels Flight Stakes. Paris Secret (5-2) made her U.S. debut March 18 at Santa Anita, running fourth in the China Doll Stakes for trainer Phil D’Amato.
6:36 p.m. – $150,000 Bachelor Stakes, 3-year-olds, six furlongs, Oaklawn, FanDuel TV
Mo Strike (2-1) won the Sanford Stakes (G3) last July at Saratoga for trainer Brad Cox and then was fourth there Sept. 5 in the Hopeful Stakes (G1), which was won by expected Kentucky Derby favorite Forte. The Uncle Mo colt returns from a layoff dating to that start Saturday under jockey Cristian Torres. Steve Asmussen trains Ryvit (5-2), who won an allowance race over this track and distance April 14. Arman (3-1) also exits a local allowance victory, his coming March 23 for trainer Peter Miller.
Related: Super Screener weekend preview: Bachelor bonanza | Horses to Watch: Eda, War Like Goddess return to action
9:24 p.m. – $250,000 San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3), 3-and-up, one mile (turf), Golden Gate, FanDuel TV
Balnikhov (9-5), a Grade 3 winner for D’Amato, drops in class off a seventh-place effort March 4 at Santa Anita in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1). Umberto Rispoli travels to Northern California to ride the 4-year-old Adaay gelding. Leonard Powell trains Grade 2 victor Dicey Mo Chara (3-1), who was runner-up April 8 at Santa Anita in the Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2). Stakes winner Flavius (5-1) returns off a layoff of more than 13 months, which dates to a sixth-place finish in the 2022 Kilroe Mile.
10:11 p.m. – $175,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes, 4-and-up fillies and mares, six furlongs, Churchill Downs, FS2
Frank’s Rockette (3-5) is a five-time graded stakes winner for trainer Bill Mott, including her victory March 11 at Gulfstream Park in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3). Jockey Junior Alvarado will ride the 6-year-old Into Mischief mare on the opening night of Churchill’s spring-summer meet. Philip Bauer trains Coppelia (3-1), third-place runner New Year’s Eve at Gulfstream in the Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3), which Frank’s Rockette won. Pretty Birdie (7-2), a Grade 3 winner for trainer Norm Casse, ran fourth March 31 at Oaklawn in the Matron Stakes.
Saturday play: Pretty Birdie can fly to lead in Roxelana.