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Odds for Margarita Stakes taken from Twinspires Sportsbook. Click on the links in the table below to head to the sportsbook, sign-up, and place your bet.
|M Gutierrez||P Gallagher|
|V Espinoza||S Callaghan|
|T Baze||M Polanco|
|J J Hernandez||J Sadler|
|M Smith||W Spawr|
|A Cedillo||P Eurton|
|D Van Dyke||S McCarthy|
|8||BYE BYE BERTIE||12/1
|D Herrera||L Powell|
|R A Vasquez||P D’Amato|
$20 Win, Place & Show – Blue Stripe = $60
Top Pick Blue Stripe (6/1)
A hard-hitting 6-year-old mare, Miss Bigly looks like the one to beat in a field of nine older mares entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita.
Fresh off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita last time, the Phil D’Amato-trained daughter of Gemologist was a convincing winner of the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park in the start before that.
Overall, Miss Bigly has finished in the money in ten straight races, the last eight coming in stakes.
Chief among her competition is the John Sadler-trained Park Avenue.
A decisive wire-to-wire winner on the turf of a local allowance race most recently, the daughter of Quality Road returns to stakes racing, and the dirt, after finishing fourth and second in a pair of graded stakes at Santa Anita to begin her 4-year-old season.
The winner of the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes back in December of 2020, Varda has only made one start since that victory.
Returning from a 15-month layoff, the Distorted Humor filly was involved early but could do no better than a well-beaten third in the Beholder Mile, seven lengths behind Miss Bigly.
The class of the race, at least among the American mares, this daughter of Gemologist has proven to be a tough cookie since moving up into stakes company last spring.
She hasn’t set the world on fire by any means, but with eight consecutive top 3 finishes in stakes company, the Phil D’Amato-trained mare has clearly demonstrated that she belongs in graded stakes races.
While she has fallen just a little short against top mares like Obligatory and As Time Goes By, she showed what she could do against a little lesser by proving best in the Grade 3 Bayakoa two starts back.
On paper, she is the one to beat here, but there is one mare who I believe can step up and beat her.
This one looked the part of a graded stakes performer by winning two in a row nicely to close out her 3-year-old season. That belief may have been premature, though, as she was well beaten in both the Grade 3 La Canada and the Grade 2 Santa Monica to begin 2022.
Perhaps this is a slightly easier spot than either of those, but only marginally so. The daughter of Quality Road did bounce back nicely for trainer John Sadler last time when she wired allowance foes on the grass.
Now she jumps right back into graded stakes racing on the dirt, and while she still has the potential to win a race like this, I didn’t see enough in her first two graded attempts to back her in the Santa Margarita.
It’s pretty hard to know what to expect from this filly from the barn of Sean McCarthy. At 2, she became a Grade 1 winner by scoring in a less than stellar edition of the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos.
Away from the races for 15 months following the victory, she returned in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile, where she showed some interest early, but faded to be a well-beaten third in a four-horse field.
She is certainly eligible to move forward off the effort, but on the other hand, I am not sure that I saw enough there to believe she will improve enough to win a race like this. It’s possible that she can do it, but her value probably will not be there as she runs for the second time in 16+ months.
This Outwork filly became a stakes winner for the first time last month at Sunland Park. With only six-lifetime starts under her belt, it looks like she has graded stakes in her future.
Of course, the difference between a listed stakes race at Sunland Park to a graded stake at Santa Anita can be pretty substantial. Still, it was a solid effort while going a flat mile.
On Saturday, she will stretch out to 9 furlongs for the first time as she tries to build upon her good recent form for trainer Peter Eurton.
With good tactical speed, she should be involved early, and if she likes the distance, she could be a threat here. I cannot dismiss her, but she I do like a few others better.
A champion in her native Argentina, this daughter of Equal Stripes will be making only her second start in the United States on Saturday. Her first race came against the best in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Although she could fare no better than seventh of eleven in the field last November, she did not have the best of trips. Now she returns after a sizable layoff and looks to prove that she can be a force among older females in California.
You never know for sure with a foreign horse until they prove it, but I like her form so much in South America, that I do believe she will be a graded stakes winner here in America. Working well, and with a solid pace to set her up, I believe she has a big shot in her return. She is the top pick.
Since breaking her maiden against the very cheap company in the fall of 2020, this daughter of Midnight Lute has proven to be a very consistent mare. Working on a string of eight consecutive in the money finishes, she will put that streak to the test on Saturday.
The Grade 2 Santa Margarita promises to be easily her toughest test yet. While the form is solid, the competition has been a few notches below what she will see here. For that reason, I consider her more of a pretender than a contender in this one.
On the one hand, she has been able to win four straight races, with two coming on dirt and two on the turf. On the other hand, they all came in races restricted to horses who had previously run in claiming races.
Having said that, there were a few decent mares behind her, including Midnight Jamboree. She also has proven to be a winner, having finished first in 11-of-23 lifetime races.
Still, I have a hard time backing her here, as she moves well up the class ladder. Especially considering in her only other graded stakes try, she came back pretty badly when the real running began.
This Uncle Mo filly has only won a maiden in eight career starts. She has attempted a couple of stakes with moderate success. The first came in last summer’s Grade 3 Torrey Pines where she was beaten by more than 15 lengths by Private Mission at Del Mar.
More recently, though, she was able to run third in the Harry Henson behind Sharapova. That came last month at Sunland Park.
While it was an encouraging effort, this only gets that much tougher. This likely will be too tough for the long shot.
A lightly raced daughter of Empire Maker, I believe this 4-year-old filly does have graded stakes potential. After finishing second in her first two races, which came at Saratoga and Keeneland, she did not race again for nearly 16 months.
She resurfaced early this year in California, where she finished fourth at Santa Anita in her return race. Shipped north she rattled off two professional-looking victories at Golden Gate Fields over their synthetic surface.
Never having won on dirt, or never having run in a stakes race, she is clearly a deserving longshot on Saturday but is one to keep an eye on moving forward
|Santa Margarita Stakes Race Information|
|What||Santa Margarita Stakes (Grade 2)|
|Time||Saturday, April 30 — 8:36pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
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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