Santa Ynez Stakes (Santa Anita Park) Predictions: Justique Has Quickly Become a Fan Favorite

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated December 30, 2022
6 min read

Santa Ynez Stakes Odds and Post Position

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










E Maldonado

D O’Neill





V Espinoza

J Shirreffs





R Vasquez

M McCarthy





J Velazquez

B Baffert





A Cedillo

B Baffert





J J Hernandez

B Baffert





M Smith

R Mandella

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Santa Ynez Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$20 Exacta Box - Lily Poo and Justique = $40

$10 Exacta Box - Lily Poo and Ice Dancing = $20

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Lily Poo (5/1).    

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Sant Ynez Stakes Predictions

A good-looking winner of the Desi Arnaz Stakes six weeks ago at Del Mar, Justique headlines a field of seven 3-year-old fillies set for Sunday’s Grade 3 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained by John Shirreffs, the daughter of Triple Crown winner Justify scored her second victory in three starts when she came from well back early to inhale the field and win going away by 2 ¼ lengths with a little urging from rider Victor Espinoza. 

A $725,000 yearling purchase, Justique did much the same in a July 31 career debut at Del Mar, before finishing third in the Grade 2 Chandelier Stakes in her only previous start at Santa Anita

Chief among her rivals in the 7-furlong Santa Ynez will be the Richard Mandella-trained daughter of Frosted, Ice Dancing. 

The gray  filly finished just a half-length behind Justique in the Chandelier as a maiden back in October, before coming back last time with a solid wire-to-wire score at Del Mar five weeks ago.

Trainer Bob Baffert will also be well represented in the Santa Ynez with the trio of Huntingcoco, Parody and Fast and Shiny. 

Each of the Baffert-trained fillies were first-out winners, but have yet to break through in stakes racing.

Santa Ynez Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


With her Zenyatta-like penchant for showing no early speed before coming with a powerful rush, this daughter of Justify has quickly become a fan favorite in her first three career starts. 

Trained by John Shirreffs, who also had Zenyatta, she has been devastating in her two sprints, which included a maiden debut and the Des Arnaz Stakes last out. In between, she was third when stretching out for the Grade 2 Chandelier, but even there her late run was pretty strong. 

This looks to be a little stronger competition than the last, and given her flashy stretch runs she will likely be a big favorite. She is the one to beat, but at the odds, I will take a small shot against her in the Santa Ynez.

Ice Dancing

Trained by Richard Mandella, this daughter of Frosted has been pretty solid in her first four career races. She was defeated in each of her first three, but they all came against good competition.

 In both the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier, she never looked like a winner, but she was good enough to be competitive most of the way. 

Given a little class relief last time, she looked good in winning at a flat mile against maidens. The cut back to seven furlongs shouldn’t be an issue. She is clearly a threat on Sunday.


The first of three from the Baffert barn, this Distorted Humor filly might have the most potential of the trio. A determined winner of her debut in the slop at Churchill Downs two months ago, she set the early pace in the Desi Arnaz, but could not stick around down the lane, ultimately fading to fourth. 

Improvement can be expected from that experience and she could once again find herself on the early lead in her third lifetime start.

 Given how easily Justique went by her last time, I don’t love her chances, but it would come as no surprise if she proved more difficult to get by this time.

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Lily Poo

Trained by Michael McCarthy, this chestnut daughter of Tapiture has steadily improved in three career starts. All of them came sprinting at Del Mar and she finished with good energy in each. After two second-place finishes, she overcame some traffic last time to win nicely. 

This will be a step up in class, but she looks ready for the challenge. I don’t know if she can hold off the late run of Justique, but she will get first jump on the leaders.

She appears to be a filly perfectly suited for the seven furlongs she will see on Sunday and another small step forward would give her a big shot. In a bit of an upset, she is my top pick.


This daughter of Practical Joke was an impressive winner in her first career start, winning by nearly seven lengths at Del Mar in early January. 

The Pennsylvania-bred filly has been unable to follow up on that success in her next two starts. Both came in stakes company, where she was no match for Justique in either one. 

While she looked full of potential in her debut, it would seem like a stretch to expect her to turn the tables on the favorite in this one.

Fast and Shiny

The third of the Baffert fillies, this Bernardini filly was a good-looking debut winner going five furlongs at Del Mar back in August. In three starts since, she has failed to make much impact. 

Having said that, she did find some trouble in both tries against graded stakes company and then broke a step slow before rushing to the lead in a good allowance race last time. 

Off the last three, it’s hard to get overly excited about her chances, but I do see the potential improvement for the supplemental nominee.

Satin Doll

Like many in the field, this daughter of Congrats was a good-looking debut winner. That win came back in July at Del Mar at odds of 31/1. Since then, the Doug O’Neill-trained filly has found little success in three subsequent starts. 

After a pair of failed stakes tries at Del Mar and Keeneland, she ventured to Turfway Park where she finished a well-beaten third in an allowance race on their all-weather surface. A contending performance on Sunday would be a surprise.

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How to watch the Santa Ynez Stakes

Santa Ynez Stakes Race Information

  • What: Santa Ynez Stakes (Grade 3)

  • Location: Santa Anita

  • Time: Sunday, January 1 -- 6:00 pm Eastern time

  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV

  • Purse: $200,000

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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
Betting Picks
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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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