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Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Santa Anita Park, April 27

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published April 26, 2024
10 min read

On the final weekend before the 2024 Kentucky Derby, I will look to pad the bankroll for the big day. This week, my attention turns to Southern California and a Saturday afternoon card of racing at Santa Anita Park. Leading the way will be a field of nine older females going one mile on the turf in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes. The multiple graded stakes winner Bellabel is the headliner in that one.

Earlier in the card, The Chosen Vron will be the afternoon’s biggest attraction as he looks for yet another stakes win to add to his impressive list of credentials. The 6-year-old star will face classy veterans Express Train and Forbidden Kingdom among a field of seven in the $100,000 Kona Gold Stakes. Without further ado, let’s get to my best bets from this solid card of racing.

Santa Anita Park Horse Race Ground Horse Racing Bets April 27



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Race #4 Kona Gold Stakes $100,000 6 1/2-Furlongs Dirt - 5:30pm EST

The great California-bred gelding The Chosen Vron will be in search of his 16th career stakes victory on Saturday as the heavy favorite against six others in the $100,000 Kona Gold Stakes going 6 1/2-furlongs on the main track at Santa Anita.

A winner of 16-of-21 career starts, including 9-of-11 at Santa Anita, the 6-year-old son of Vronsky has only been beaten once in the last two seasons, and that came in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint won by the champion Elite Power. Perfect in three starts since the World Championships, The Chosen Vron comes into Saturday’s test off a facile score in the Grade 3 San Carlos over the track six weeks ago for trainer Eric Kruljak.

Chief among his competition in Saturday’s co-feature will be the Richard Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom. The three-time graded stakes winner will be making his first start of 2024 in this one. Last year, the speedy son of American Pharoah closed out his 4-year-old season with a victory on the turf in the Grade 2 Joe Hernandez Stakes at Santa Anita on December 30.

Adding intrigue to the Kona Gold will be the return to the races of Express Train. The Grade 1 winner of the 2022 edition of the Big Cap has been away from the races for some 18 months. A winner of nearly $1.5 million in his career has been working sharply for trainer John Shirreffs. This race is all about The Chosen Vron, however, and I cannot look past him on Saturday. He is my top pick.

My Plays

  • $50 Exacta - The Chosen Vron over Forbidden Kingdom = $50

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Race #7 Allowance $55,000 6 1/2-Furlongs Turf - 7:00pm EST

In search of his third consecutive win, Cali Bay looks like the one to beat in a field of nine males sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs on the Santa Anita Downhill turf course in this $55,000 allowance event.

An Irish-bred son of New Bay, the Phil D’Amato-trainee has pounced to win in November at Del Mar and then February at Santa Anita in his last two. Both of those victories came at the flat mile distance, so he will be shortening up in this one. A winner of four of thirteen career starts on the grass, the chestnut gelding has won sprinting before.

Chief among his rivals on Saturday is the Peter Miller-trained Forgiving Spirit. A turf sprint specialist, the son of Shaman Ghost has finished second in each of his last three starts, including two last month at Santa Anita. With good early speed, he figures to be the one they have to catch here. 

Another interesting contender here is the Mark Glatt-trained Tigerhon. Bred in France, this 6-year-old son of Bated Breath comes in off a sharp score over claiming opposition two months ago. He has yet to string wins together yet in his career, but a repeat of his last could be enough to get the job done in this one. He is the top pick.

My Plays

  • $5 Exacta Part Wheel - Tigerhon over Cali Bay, Forgiving Spirit, Legislator, and On the Wim = $20

  • $5 Exacta Part Wheel - Cali Bay, Forgiving Spirit, Legislator, and On the Wim over Tigerhon = $20

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Race #9 Royal Heroine Stakes (Grade 3) $100,000 1-Mile Turf - 8:00pm EST

Led by multiple graded stakes winner Bellabel, trainer Phil D’Amato holds a strong hand of three in Saturday’s $100,000 Royal Heroine Stakes for older females going one mile on the lawn at Santa Anita.

An Irish-bred daughter of Belardo, Bellabel returned from more than a year off to score a stylish victory over the local turf course in the Grade 3 Megahertz at the same distance as Saturday’s test. Next out, she finished fifth last month in the Grade 2 Buena Vista but was not embarrassed by the classy winner Ruby Nell. Earlier in her career, she was a Grade 2 winner at Del Mar and twice finished in the money in Grade 1 races.

D’Amato’s other two are the Australian import Uncorked and the Kentucky-bred Lakota Spirit. When last seen, the former rallied to be beaten only a length in the Forever Together Stakes last November in New York, while the latter finished a non-threatening ninth behind Ruby Nell in the Buena Vista.

If anyone is to upset the D’Amato apple cart on Saturday, it could be trainer Doug O’Neill and his pair of Miss Lizzy and Stay and Scam. While the former likes to come from off the pace, the latter has a high turn of early speed. Both come in with good form and should be respected here. The class of Bellabel is hard to ignore, however, and she will be the top pick.

My Plays 

  • $20 Exacta Part Wheel - Bellabel over Miss Lizzy and Stay and Scam = $40

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Race #10 Allowance $55,000 1-Mile Dirt - 8:30pm EST

A highly regarded young prospect this time last year, Faustin will look to prove that he still has a world of potential when he tops a field of ten in this afternoon-closing allowance race.

A son of Curlin, he was a first out winner in December of 2022 for trainer Bob Baffert as an odds-on favorite. In his second career start, he ran a solid second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes. After a long layoff, the expensive 2-year-old in training purchase finally returned three weeks ago to run a game second in a fast allowance race on the turf. Returning to the main track here, he will likely be a solid favorite in his fourth career start.

Chief among his opposition in this one mile affair will be the Richard Mandella-trained Yellow Brick. A 4-year-old son of Quality Road, he has finished out of the top three positions only once in his nine-race career. He finally broke his maiden two starts back, doing it convincingly going 7-furlongs at Santa Anita in February. Last out, he rallied to be a solid second in allowance company five weeks ago. 

Others in the field to consider include the Mark Glatt-trained Ultimate Gamble. Like Faustin, he has won once in three career starts, but turned in a solid pair of races over the Santa Anita main track last April. Those performances would certainly make him a player here, but it’s been a full year away for the highly regarded son of Medaglia d’Oro. While both him and Faustin still have major potential, I like the recent form of Yellow Brick, and he will be the top pick in this one.

My Play

  • $20 Win & Place - Yellow Brick = $40

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Brian Zipse

293 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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