Three Grade 1 stakes will be held Monday at Santa Anita when the Hollywood Gold Cup, Gamely and Shoemaker Mile share the marquee. In addition, a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 builds intrigue on the card as Santa Anita sidesteps the jackpot provision on the 20-cent wager and could entice a mutuel pool of $4 million or more. There’s a $449,348 carryover in the Rainbow 6 heading into a four-day racing week at Santa Anita, which could incentivize play even more if it carries through to Monday.
Meanwhile, Texas’ big day on the annual thoroughbred calendar also takes place on Memorial Day. The Grade 3 $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile headlines a six-stakes card that includes the $300,000 Texas Derby. Rising California players Elector and Shaaz meet the likes of millionaire Rated R Superstar in the Sexton Mile.
For those betting Santa Anita’s big stakes this weekend, the Betmix database offers several handicapping pointers, gathered for the current racing season that began Dec. 26.
Key Santa Anita Park stats
Percentage of winning stakes favorites: 44%
Average stakes win odds: 4.1-1
Top active stakes jockeys: Ricardo Gonzalez (38%), Juan Hernandez (25%), Victor Espinoza (20%)
Top active stakes trainers: Craig Lewis (67%), John Shirreffs (33%), Phil D’Amato (26%), Richard Mandella (25%)
What to Watch for This Week
Santa Anita features five stakes Saturday for Cal-breds on Gold Rush Day, while Sunday’s card boasts a graded stakes trio of the Daytona, Honeymoon and Triple Bend … Golden Gate Fields in Northern California has a Sunday-Monday stakes double of the Alcatraz and All American … Memorial Day Monday at Belmont is highlighted by a six-pack of New York-bred stakes ... Leading national trainer Brad Cox will be serving part of his 10-day suspension this week for a medication overage in last June’s Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He will be eligible to return June 2 … In the long-range forecast, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and Wood Memorial winner Mo Donegal, fifth in the Derby, lead the potential Belmont Stakes prospects.
Friday Weekend Firestarter
Trainer Joe Sharp’s horses boast a 12: 6-1-1 record at Churchill Downs over the past two weeks, winning 50% and producing a crazy $2.97 ROI for every $1 bet. His horses exiting Keeneland have been particularly effective, and we get two chances Friday. Consider No. 2 Nana’s Gray in Race 3 and No. 10 Fieldstone in Race 5. Both are taking subtle, but important, drops in class to face easier competition than their most recent lackluster placings.
1/ST BET App Top Handicapping Tracks of the Week
The free 1/ST BET app allows you to apply millions of data points across dozens of handicapping factors in mere seconds and immediately place your wagers. Here’s where the artificial intelligence was most dialed-in last week by win percentage:
— Hawthorne: 50%
— Louisiana Downs: 45%
— Will Rogers Downs: 44%
— Santa Anita: 44%
— Belmont Park: 40%
Tracks with most reliable favorites last week (by win pct.)
— Thistledown: 58%
— Emerald Downs: 58%
— Canterbury Park: 58%
— Evangeline Downs: 56%
— Belmont Park: 53%
Tracks that were long-shot havens last week (most winners 10-1 or higher)
— Pimlico: 8
— Parx: 7
America’s hot jockeys last week
— Kevin Radke (9-17, 53%), Emerald Downs
— Adrian Ramos (8-16, 50%), Fonner Park
— Chris Emigh (6-12, 50%), Hawthorne
— Fernando Salazar Becerra (5-11, 45%), Thistledown
— Santos Rivera (5-12, 42%), Golden Gate Fields
America’s hot trainers last week
— Kevin Patterson (4-5, 80%), Charles Town, Mountaineer
— Rusty Arnold (5-8, 63%), Churchill, Indianapolis
— David Wolochuk (5-8, 63%), Thistledown
— Maclean Robertson (7-14, 50%), Canterbury Park
— Tim Kreiser (4-8, 50%), Penn National
— Chad Brown (6-13, 46%), Pimlico, Belmont, Monmouth, Churchill
Santa Anita Contests Stacked Across Weekend
Players at Xpressbet.com can take part Friday-Monday in four separate handicapping contests surrounding Santa Anita’s holiday weekend action. Entry and fees for the different contests are $50, $80, $150 and $1,500 for all levels of players. For details, visit xpressbet.com/tournaments.
Statistics courtesy of Betmix.com