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Santa Maria Stakes: Adare Manor Is the Headliner Among a Field of Six Older Females

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published April 27, 2023
13 min read

Santa Maria Stakes Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita!

PP

Horse

Odds

Jockey

Trainer

1

KIRSTENBOSCH

3/1

BET HERE

K Kimura

J Sadler

2

ADARE MANOR

3/2

BET HERE

J J Hernandez

B Baffert

3

BIG SWITCH

5/2

BET HERE

J Bravo

J Sadler

4

SMOOTHLIKEBUTTAH

8/1

BET HERE

T J Pereira

S Knapp

5

MONGOLIAN PANTHER

20/1

BET HERE

G Franco

L Barocio

6

BELLAMORE

6/1

BET HERE

R Vasquez

S Callaghan

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Santa Maria Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$20 Exacta Part Wheel - Kirstenbosch over Adare Manor and Big Switch = $40

$10 Exacta Part Wheel - Adare Manor and Big Switch over Kirstenbosch = $20

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Kirstenbosch (3/1).    

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Santa Maria Stakes Predictions

Making her return to graded stakes racing, Adare Manor is the headliner among a field of six older females set to do battle in Saturday’s Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

A 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo trained by Bob Baffert, she comes into this test off a game victory in a strong allowance race over the track four weeks ago. 

The dark bay filly made a splash early last season, winning the Grade 3 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita by 13 lengths. Twice second in Grade 2 stakes after that, her win last month was her first in over a year.

Chief among her opposition in the 8 1/2-furlong Santa Maria will be the California-bred filly that she narrowly beat last time, Big Switch. 

A 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Big, she has finished first or second in her last four starts for trainer John Sadler, including a romping win in the Melair Stakes last year at Santa Anita.

Another who will merit strong consideration on Saturday is Kirstenbosch. A winner of the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita to begin the year, she also runs for trainer John Sadler. 

A filly who likes to come running late, she finished off last year with a solid third in the Grade 1 La Brea. Most recently, she was a fast-closing third in the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes three weeks ago.

Santa Maria Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Adare Manor

Speed is always dangerous and this daughter of Uncle Mo has used it three times already at Santa Anita to gate to wire. A big winner of graded stakes over the track just over a year ago, she has not quite lived up to lofty expectations since that romp. 

Having said that, she has run several strong races since, including a very game win in a local allowance race last month. She will once again have to deal with the top rival from that race here. This will be her third race off the layoff, so we could see her very best on Saturday. 

The Bob Baffert-trainee is the one to beat, but that second graded stakes victory could once again prove elusive with a couple of tough competitors in this one.

Big Switch

A consistent runner trained by John Sadler, this Mr. Big filly gave the favorite everything she wanted last time when just a head back in that allowance race. 

Twice a stakes winner against fellow California-breds, this looks like a good spot for her to contend in a graded stakes race. She will have an extra half-furlong to try to get by Adare Manor this time, and I expect her to take the race to the favorite pretty early here. 

Certainly a threat for the win, she will not only need to run down the favorite, but she will also need to hold off the late charge of Kirstenbosch.

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Kirstenbosch

This late-running daughter of Midnight Lute is another consistent filly for trainer John Sadler. Three starts back she scored her first graded stakes win with a late rush to get up in the La Canada Stakes. Going well, she has run twice since. 

She was not embarrassed when fifth in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile, and then came back with a sharp performance when a fast-closing third in the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs just three weeks ago. 

In the best form of her career, I expect the added distance of this one to suit her perfectly. I also believe that she can take advantage of the top two battling each other at some point early in the race. She is the top pick.  

Bellamore

The wildcard of the field, this Simon Callaghan-trained mare has bounced around from surface to surface in her 13-race career. 

It’s hard to say which surface is her favorite, but she did finish a nice second in the Grade 3 Falls City at Churchill Downs late last year on the dirt. She has only had one start since, and that came five weeks ago over Turfway Park’s all-weather track. 

She finished a decent third in a minor stakes race there, so she will need to improve in her second start of the layoff. She can do that and be a factor here, but I do like the top three a little bit better.

Smoothlikebuttah

Like Kirstenbosch, this 5-year-old California-bred does her best running from behind. Having been beaten by that rival twice in the past eight months, it appears that she is just a notch below, though. 

Having said that, the Steve Knapp-trained runner is always a threat to pick up the pieces and fill out the exotics. To her credit, she finished out of the money only once in 13 starts last year.  

Coming off an allowance victory over the track last month, she would seem a good bet to finish third or fourth here, although an unlikely winner.  

Mongolian Panther

The outsider in the field, this 7-year-old daughter of Curlin has done most of her racing at a much lower level than she will face on Saturday. 

Two starts back, she proved no match for the late run of Smoothlikebuttah in an allowance race. She does bring some early speed to the table, and could impact the race that way, by adding just a little early pressure to the favorite. 

Following that, I am hard-pressed to believe that she has a legitimate chance to threaten when the real running begins.

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How to Watch the Santa Maria Stakes

Santa Maria Stakes Race Information

  • What: Santa Maria Stakes (Grade 2)

  • Location: Santa Anita

  • Time: Saturday, April 29 -- 8:00 pm Eastern time

  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV

  • Purse: $200,000

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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

279 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]

More info on Brian Zipse
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