Weekend lineup: Santa Anita opening is Boxing Day for racing fans – Horse Racing News

Santa Anita in Arcadia, California.

The only ranked stakes in North America this weekend fall on the traditional Santa Anita Day after Christmas opening day, when the Arcadia track in California rolls out six ranked stakes on an 11-race map that starts at 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. EST.

Three of the six stakes are G1: the Runhappy Malibu for 3-year-olds that goes seven meters on gravel, the La Brea for 3-year-old fillies that goes the same distance, and the American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies that go 1 1/4 mile on turf in a race scheduled to start on the reopened Santa Anita Turf Descent Course.

New to Santa Anita’s expansive betting menu is a special mid-point opening day bet offered on races five through eight with a minimum of 50 cents. The bet will be offered on days when 11 races are carded.

Following Sunday’s opening day schedule, Santa Anita will be offering a special nine-race Monday card that will begin with a first message at 12 p.m. PT.

While Santa Anita’s Christmas opening day is the treat many riders and fans have been waiting for, there is some high-stakes action on Sunday in Laurel Park in Md., Gulfstream Park in Florida and Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La.

Here’s a quick look at the graduated stakes for Santa Anita’s opening day:


4:08 p.m. ET – G2 San Gabriel Stakes in Santa Anita

The fifth race on the map, the San Gabriel will see Dan Blacker coached Hit the Road, a more than ready colt who earlier this year won the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes in Santa Anita running a mile, spanning nine stadiums for the first time. Umberto Rispoli, perfect three-for-three aboard Hit the Road, will be back aboard the 4-year-old colt after Florent Geroux handled him in his last four starts. Look for Friar’s Road, coached by Michael McCarthy, who will fly late under the direction of Jose Ortiz, who traveled west to ride several horses for McCarthy on map opening day. the Quality road Colt has yet to win a Stakes but has finished third, beaten by a header, in the G2 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes two starts at Santa Anita.

Entrances to Saint-Gabriel

4:40 p.m. – San Antonio Stakes in Santa Anita

G1 Pennsylvania Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie was not dishonored when he was fourth behind likely Knicks Go Horse of the Year in his first try against older horses in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in Del Mar on November 6. San Antonio led by regular rider Flavien Prat and trainer Doug O’Neill remove the blinders from the Oxbow colt’s equipment after they were added for the Breeders’ Cup. Kiss Today Goodbye defends his title in San Antonio for coach Eric Kruljac and Bob Baffert has two runners – Eight Rings and Azul Coast – in the field of seven.

Entrances from San Antonio

5:12 p.m. – Santa Anita Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes

With Hit the Road choosing to expand into the San Gabriel, the Mathis Brothers Mile has been a very competitive race, with Del Mar’s G1 Hollywood Derby winner Beyond Brilliant the 5-2 morning line favorite for the trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Kent Desormeaux. Du Jour is the second choice at 3-1 on the morning line for coach Bob Baffert and jockey Flavien Prat. the City of Temples colt is two-for-two on the Santa Anita turf, smashing his young daughter and adding an allowance win there earlier this year. He also won the G2 American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs.

Entries Santa Anita Mathis Brothers Mile

5.44 p.m. – Post La Brea in Santa Anita

Private Mission threw ridiculously fast fractions before hitting the wall on the turn and finishing last of the Breeders’ Cup G1 stopper rod, covering 1 1/8 miles at Del Mar. The in evil The Bob Baffert-trained filly showed the ability to win against good company by completing two laps in the G2 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita in October, but she might find the sprint distance extended by seven meters even more to her liking here. The favorite of the line 8-5 in the morning will be ridden by Flavien Prat. None of the other six fillies faced such a tough competition as Private Mission, although Baffert’s other filly in the lineup, Kalypso, won the G2 Santa Ynez the same distance in Santa Anita last January. .

The starters of La Bréa

6:49 p.m. – Runhappy Malibu Stakes in Santa Anita

How good is Flightline? Colt Tapit achieved Beyer’s speed figures of 105 and 114 respectively while winning his first two starts by 18 combined lengths – an inaugural race in Santa Anita in April and an allowance race on September 5 in Del Mar – but this will be the first test issue for runner John Sadler. The million dollars Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase didn’t miss a beat in his training and takes the lead Western coast the rider Flavien Prat, also regular rider of Dr. Schivel, the second choice of the morning line of the Malibu. Dr. Schivel, who lost the G1 Breeders’ Cup sprint by a nose to Aloha West, still brings his “A” game, and the Colt trained by Mark Glatt from Violence just happens to be in the thick of it. Rising Southern California star Juan Hernandez, who led Dr Schivel to his first victory in 2020, will be on board. An interesting wild card is Baby Yoda, an Eastern invader trained by Bill Mott who received a Beyer speed figure of 114 for a win in an allowance race at Saratoga on September 4 the day before Flightline’s victory at Del Mar. He had two disappointing runs since then, but recovered Jose Ortiz on board.

Runhappy Malibu appetizers

7:20 p.m. – American Oaks in Santa Anita

It’s impossible to ignore Going Global’s perfect four-on-four record on the Santa Anita turf course or its overall mark of seven wins in 11 starts. The five-time ranked winner is one of two American Oaks roster Phil D’Amato, who starts halfway through the hillside turf course and laps around the infield oval. . Michael McCarthy has four entered in the Oaks 11-horse field, none of them a Stakes winner, but all of them are capable of improving. The best of her quartet could be Nicest, an Irish-bred American Pharoah who was a good third in Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and third in the G1 Irish Oaks a month later. She will have John Velazquez on board for her third attempt in the US Stakes. Two other shippers, Fluffy Socks, trained by two-time Graduate Stakes winner Chad Brown, and Core Values, trained by Victoria Oliver, make the American Oaks a tough race to handicap.

American Oaks appetizers

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