Horse racing best bets for Santa Anita Park

By Mike Somich  ( handicapper) 

September 29, 2023 11:13 PM

Weekend horse racing handicapper best bets from Mike Somich

With just six weeks until the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita, we are in the home stretch with the Win and You Are In races all across the country. Belmont at the Big A has postponed their Saturday card and moved it to Sunday including the Grade 2 Woodward. Friday kicked off the Santa Anita meet, and Saturday’s card is loaded including four Graded Stakes highlighted by the Grade 1 Awesome Again which is a win and you’re in for the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes – Santa Anita, Saturday, Race #6

The first of the four graded stakes races on the card features three Bob Baffert entries, but favoritism lies on the #2 Dr. Schivel trained by Mark Glatt. While Dr. Schivel is the most consistent horse in the field, his A+ race does not beat a couple of others in here if they run their best as well. He should be respected and including in exacta / trifecta bet, but I will try to beat him here.

#3 Arabian Lion is the 2nd choice on the morning line sitting at 5/2 and will be the most bet of the Baffert trio. Cross out his last race, he didn’t handle the sloppy track at Saratoga, and he has a very good resume with a win at today’s distance and tactical speed.

Right to his outside is #4 Fort Bragg, the second Baffert in the race, who is also coming off a poor effort in the H Allen Jerkins at Saratoga. Distance is his main concern. Six furlongs could be just too short with all of his best races coming at 1 mile or longer.

The final Baffert in the race is #8 Speed Boat Beach. He offers the best price, 12-1 on the morning line, and has been working lights out. He has been training in the morning with Fort Bragg and has gotten the better of him twice. He should be the speed of the speed here and is very dangerous.

I’ve been chasing #9 Spirit of Makena the last two races so he is worth a mention here. You are getting the best price compared to the last two, and the talent is there if he can return to form.

Picks: 8-3-2-9

Bets: Keep it simple here. $20 to win on #8 Speed Boat Beach

Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, Santa Anita, Saturday, Race #8

Quite a few familiar faces meet again with a bid on the line for the Breeders Cup Classic! The favorite, #2 Defunded, will have to return to form to be able to beat this field. The last two races have been weak, and he has consistently been beaten by the #3 Slow Down Andy and #1 Senor Buscador.

Defunded does love Santa Anita and will be happy to be home, he’s run here nine times with five wins and eight in-the-money finishes. The aforementioned Slow Down Andy has continued to improve in his 4-year-old campaign. Two back, the quick pace weakened his just enough for Senor Buscador to roll on by, and last time out he ran well, but was no match for Arabian Knight and Geaux Rocket Ride who are two of the best in the country. Today he faces less pace pressure and a softer field. He’s the horse to beat.

Senor Buscador ran well the last two starts but needed help to be able to defeat Slow Down Andy. He has beaten Defunded twice in the last two starts so his 5-1 price vs. Defunded at 2-1 offers some value.

The wildcard in this race is all the way on the outside, #9 Stilleto Boy. He should make the lead and has gotten brave in the past. Last time out, he had an awful start and was pulled up, that should increase his value in this spot, and he loves Santa Anita as well with six in the money finishes in seven starts.

Picks: 3-1-9-2

Bets – This is a hammer race for me so let's play three bets:

$30 Exacta 3-1

$10 Exacta 1-3

$10 Trifecta 1 with 3,9 with 3,9 = $20 total

Spot plays:

Saturday, Santa Anita Race #10: $20 win #7 Twist

Saturday, Santa Anita Race #6: $0.50 Pick 5 – 2,3,8 with 2,5,7 with 1,2,3,9 with 2,5,7 with 7 = $54

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