Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 14, 2022

American Pharoah Stakes Predictions, Picks, Odds (Santa Anita)

American Pharoah Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 GANDOLFINI 8/1
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E Maldonado B Baffert
2 MAN CHILD 20/1
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H Berrios R Hanson
3 MACNAMARA 30/1
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T Baze J Engler
4 ODONATA 20/1
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A Cedillo D O’Neill
5 CAVE ROCK 4/5
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J J Hernandez B Baffert
6 NATIONAL TREASURE 5/1
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R A Vasquez B Baffert
7 SKINNER 10/1
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V Espinoza J Shirreffs
8 HEJAZI 4/1
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M Smith B Baffert

American Pharoah Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$20 Exacta – Cave Rock over Skinner = $20

$10 Exacta – Skinner over Cave Rock = $10

$5 Trifecta Part Wheel Win – Cave Rock and Skinner over Cave Rock and Skinner over Hejazi and Gandolfini = $20

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top upset pick Skinner (10/1).

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Santa Anita Racetrack

Fresh off an impressive win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity Cave Rock is the horse they will all have to beat as a field of eight juveniles have been entered in the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

One of four for trainer Bob Baffert, who has won this race a record ten times, Cave Rock made his career debut on August 13 at Del Mar and responded with a six-length maiden score while going 6-furlongs.

The son of Arrogate came back four weeks later and was hammered down to 2-5 favoritism in the Del Mar Futurity. There he scored by 5 1/4 lengths in racehorse time of 1:20.99 for the 7 furlongs.

If any horse can stop the heavy favorite in the Grade 1 American Pharoah, it could be one of his stablemates.

Baffert’s other three in the 1 1/16-mile test include Gandolfini, Hejazi and National Treasure.

Gandolfini and National Treasure both come in off debut victories, while Hejazi is a $3,550,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, who has run second in each of his first two starts.

The field for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile “Win & You’re In” qualifying race is rounded out by Skinner, Odonata, Man Child and Macnamara.

American Pharoah Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Cave Rock

The first of four for trainer Bob Baffert, this son of Arrogate has looked like the genuine article in his first two career starts. In both his 6 1/2-furlong debut eight weeks ago, and the 7-furlong, Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity four weeks ago, he went right to the lead and dominated his competition.

Both wins at Del Mar were fast and impressive, and despite all of his early speed, he looks like a horse who wants more distance. He will get that and a new track on Saturday, as well as his toughest competition to date.

With two excellent performances under his belt, and the pedigree to run longer, he is clearly the horse to beat. It will be interesting to see if the other speed here softens him up at all, but clearly, he is the most likely winner of this important Breeders’ Cup Juvenile prep.

Hejazi

There aren’t a lot of horses out there purchased for better than $3.5 million before their first race, but this son of Bernardini is one of them. Although he has not come close yet to living up to that lofty price tag, there still is hope.

A step slow out of the gate in his debut in August, he ran on pretty well to finish second best in a fast 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Del Mar. Three weeks later he came back at the same track to chase a very fast horse all the way around in an extremely fast 5 1/2-furlongs.

In other words, he is still a maiden, but his first two races were still quite solid. With good tactical speed and the pedigree to stretch out, there is still good reason to believe he can be a graded stakes horse. I like Cave Rock better, but he is a threat here.

National Treasure

A $500,000 yearling purchase, this son of Quality Road will come into the American Pharoah off only a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race five weeks ago at Del Mar. Sent off 3/1, he went right to the lead, set fast fractions, and fended off his challengers to win by 1 1/2-lengths.

Things will only get tougher on Saturday, as he not only moves way up in class, but now has to deal with the early speed of Cave Rock. He well could turn out to be a very nice horse, but given his lack of experience and similar running style to the favorite, I can’t support him in this one.

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Gandolfini

Likely the longest priced of the Baffert quartet, this is a New York-bred son of the second Baffert-trained Triple Crown winner Justify. Purchased for $470,000 as a yearling, he had to work to win his debut when going a mile at Los Alamitos three weeks ago.

The good news is that already having had a tough race around two-turns, he should be prepared for the 1 1/16 miles of the American Pharoah.

He also was able to pass horses in that debut win, which could help on Saturday. If the other Baffert’s battle early, he could be the one finishing better than most.

Skinner

Of the four in the race not trained by Baffert, this one is the most interesting to me. Though still a maiden he had some  trouble in his debut when he rallied for fifth. Off that effort, he was aggressively placed in the 7-furlong Del Mar Futurity and rallied from last to finish third.

Trained by John Shirreffs, and a son of Curlin, out of a Malibu Moon mare, there is every reason to believe that he will appreciate the added distance he will get in the American Pharoah.

While Cave Rock is clearly the one to beat, there is plenty of speed in here which should help set the table for this one’s late run. If anyone defeats the big favorite on Saturday, I think it will be Skinner.

Odonata

One of three maidens in the field, this son of Laoban has been competitive in each of his three starts, as he’s stretched out in distance from 5-furlongs to a flat mile. Most recently, he gave the favorite Gandolfini a good stretch battle in that one’s debut victory.

While he certainly gives the impression of a colt who will break through with a victory sooner rather than later, his connections probably have found a spot that is still a little bit out of his range at this point. This is one that I will keep an eye on when more reasonably spotted.

Man Child

After a debut victory at Los Alamitos on July 3, this Creative Cause colt has come back to finish third in a pair of stakes races. The first came in the Grade 3 Best Pal at Del Mar, where he prompted the pace before fading down the lane. While the next came in the restricted Capote at Los Alamitos.

While he has yet to run a bad race, he would need to really improve to beat these. Coming out of three pretty sharp sprints, he looks to be an early pace factor, rather than a serious contender for the win. Perhaps he will appreciate the added ground, but he’s still not one I can back here.

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Macnamara

Likely to be the longest shot in the eight-horse field, this son of Union Rags did very little running in his career debut at Los Alamitos on September 17. Dropped down to maiden claiming eight days later, he showed improvement with blinkers on and won by a neck while going 8 1/2-furlongs.

Unfortunately, that victory was not only against significantly cheaper than he will see here, but it was also slow. Trained by Jeff Engler, he looks completely overmatched in this Grade 1 test, and cannot be recommended.

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How to Watch the American Pharoah Stakes

American Pharoah Stakes Race Information
What American Pharoah Stakes (Grade 1)
Location Santa Anita
Time Saturday, October 8 — 7:30pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $300,000
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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

225 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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