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La Canada Stakes: Ganadora Should Prove to Be a Tough Filly to Pass in the Stretch

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated January 12, 2023
12 min read

La Canada Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita Park!









J Velazquez

B Baffert




T J Pereira

S Knapp




J J Hernandez

B Baffert




V Espinoza

P Gallagher




K Kimura

J Sadler




F Prat

M Badilla

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

La Canada Stakes Best Bets

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

  • $10 Trifecta Part Wheel - Ganadora over Under the Stars and Kirstenbosch over Under the Stars, Kirstenbosch and Smoothlikebuttah  = $40
  • If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Ganadora (9/5)



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La Canada Stakes Predictions

Trainer Bob Baffert holds a strong hand when he sends out the favored pair of Ganadora and Under the Stars in a field of six older females in the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Ganadora is the more lightly raced of the duo, but will likely be the post-time choice.  The $1 million yearling purchase pushed a strong pace before fading down the lane to finish fifth in the Grade 1 La Brea last time. 

Before that the daughter of Quality Road was an eight-length winner of the Dark Mirage Stakes at Los Alamitos for her first stakes win in what was her fourth career start.

Twice a Grade 2 winner last year, Under the Stars is the most accomplished of the bunch. A daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, she failed to fire her best last out when she finished seventh and last in the La Brea.

Both of her previous stakes wins came at Santa Anita, including the Summertime Oaks, which was at the same distance she will see on Saturday

If anyone is to upset the Baffert pair in the 8 1/2-furlong La Canada, Kristenbosch seems like the most likely.  

Trained by John Sadler, she finished ahead of both them last time when rallying for third in the La Brea. Before that the 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute was a beaten favorite when second in the $250,000 Zia Park Oaks.

La Canada Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


This daughter of Quality Road got into a real speed dual last time in the Grade 1 La Brea. Considering the pressure, it’s not surprising that she backed out a little bit and it was no disgrace to be beaten six lengths. 

Back at two turns for this Grade 3 affair, she should be able to flaunt her early speed breaking from the rail under Johnny Velazquez. 

A winner of three of five lifetime starts for trainer Bob Baffert, she is the controlling speed of the race and should prove to be a tough filly to pass in the stretch. If she is to become a true graded stakes mare out west, this is a race she should win. She is the top pick.

Under the Stars

You don’t always know what you are going to get with this daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, as she has bounced back and forth between good and disappointing efforts over the last nine months. 

She didn’t offer too much resistance last time in the La Brea, but this field might be more to her liking. Still, the two-time graded winner figures to behind her talented stablemate early, and that looks like all the advantage Ganadora may need. 

Based on her class and past success at Santa Anita, she must be considered a major threat in the La Canada, but of the two, I think her stablemate is clearly more likely to win.


Last early in the La Brea, this daughter of Midnight Lute closed well in that Grade 1 race to grab third and finish ahead of several stakes winners. 

She has more tactical speed, though, than she showed in that 7-furlong race, so I do believe she will be more in touch early on Saturday as she stretches back out to two turns. 

Trained by John Sadler, she has been pretty consistent on dirt and seems to be running her best of late. She looks like the best bet to upset the Baffert favorites, or at least finish ahead of one of them.

Angel Nadeshiko

This daughter of Carpe Diem is the most likely one in the field to go after Ganadora in the early stages of this 1 1/16-mile test. Having said that, I am not sure bay filly has quite enough speed to truly worry the top pick early. 

She did not break her maiden until September and this will be a stakes debut, but her recent dirt form is good enough to believe she can compete with this group. 

Likely chasing early, though, I am not keen on her chances to stick around strongly when the real running begins.


As far as winning, this daughter of Mr. Big is a bad bet. She’s only won twice in 35 tries. But as far as running second or third, she is very consistent, taking home one of those spots 21 times.

Once again, I think she is much more likely for a minor share here, but her consistent form of late and her good ability to finish with interest, do make her an interesting mare to include in the exotics. 

This will be a step up in class, but she has been competitive with some pretty solid fillis of late.

Natural Colour

Coming off a second-place finish in the Miss America Stakes on the all-weather track at Golden Gate Fields last time, this will be the first start on dirt for the 5-year-old daughter of Exceed and Excel. 

She was good enough to score two stakes victories last year up north, but will need to prove she can run with the fillies in Southern California on Saturday. 

I cannot completely dismiss her here, but it is too much of a crap shoot to know how she will take to the dirt to select her against this bunch.



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How to Watch the La Canada Stakes

  • What: La Canada Stakes (Grade 3)
  • Location: Santa Anita
  • Time: Saturday, January 14 -- 6:30 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $200,000
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Image for Brian Zipse


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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