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Check out our predictions and odds for the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park!
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
Here are my plays ($50 in total)
$5 Exacta Box - National Treasure, Spun Intended and Packs a Wahlop = $30
$10 Trifecta Part Wheel - National Treasure over Spun Intended and Packs a Wahlop over Speed Boat Beach = $20
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick National Treasure (9/5).
Third last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, National Treasure tops a quartet of Bob Baffert contenders as a field of six Kentucky Derby hopefuls have been entered in Sunday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
A son of Quality Road, he broke his maiden nicely in his career debut and then finished in the money in two straight Grade 1 starts. He was second to Cave Rock in the American Pharoah before his solid effort last time in the Breeders’ Cup.
His three stablemates all also rate a chance in the one-mile Sham.
Speed Boat Beach is a two-time stakes winner on the turf, who broke his maiden impressively in his only career start on the main track.
Newgate won at first asking and has been contesting graded stakes ever since. Last out he was a solid second behind his highly regarded stablemate Havameltdown in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes.
Reincarnate, meanwhile, has no stakes experience but broke his maiden last out after finishing second in his first three career starts.
The biggest threat to Baffert domination in the Sham could be Spun Intended. The son of Hard Spun was a good second in his debut after a less than perfect trip and rebounded with an impressive score four weeks later.
As a Kentucky Derby prep race, the Sham will award qualifying points to the first five finishers on a 10-4-3-2-1 scale.
This son of Quality Road will get some class relief in the Sham after running in a pair of Grade 1 races most recently.Although he never quite looked like a winner in either, his performances to be second in the American Pharoah and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile were full of class.
Returning to Southern California and cutting back to a flat mile for trainer Bob Baffert should only help his chances as he looks to come from just off the pace in this race set up with plenty of speed.
This Grade 3 has attracted some talented horses, but still it looks like his class and the race set up make him strictly the one to beat on Sunday. He is the top pick.
Another Baffert runner, this son of Bayern flaunted his speed in his first two career starts, but was unable to hang around when tested in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
It was a tough spot and away from Southern California, but it does raise questions about his overall class. He bounced back nicely, though, last time when he stretched his speed to a mile to win a Grade 3 stakes race on the Del Mar lawn.
Having run on the grass in his last three, it will be interesting to see him back on the surface where he won his debut nicely. He is a threat in here, but will probably get no breathers as part of a strong early pace.
This son of Hard Spun has done nothing wrong in two career starts for trainer Mark Glatt. Probably unlucky not to win his debut against another promising runner, he came back to make short work of maiden foes in his next start.
Both races were fast and came at 6 1/2-furlongs, so he will need to prove that he can stretch out to two turns on Sunday. Given his pedigree and the way he has finished his first two starts, I expect a mile to be well within his scope, though.
He looks like a very talented horse, who has a real shot in the Grade 3 Sham. Working very well for this test, I see him as the top threat to the top pick.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, this son of Creative Cause is well proven at the distance, having already won a pair of graded stakes at one mile. Both of those came on the grass, though, so the surface will be a question mark as he returns to dirt.
In his only previous run on the main track, he ran evenly to finish fourth over a sloppy racing surface at Gulfstream Park. Working well on the dirt, and bred to handle the switch back, I think it’s likely that he can transfer his good turf form to the main track as he adds blinkers on Sunday.
He’s also been able to pass at least one horse in each of his three career wins. I have a feeling his odds will offer good value here and I look forward to including him in the exotics.
This speedy son of Into Mischief will have blinkers off as he breaks from the rail on Sunday. Perhaps that will allow the Baffert runner to stalk what should be a solid early pace.
A sharp debut winner four starts back, he has yet to find the winner’s circle in three subsequent starts. Having said that, his last was probably his best yet, chasing the fast Havnameltdown all the way around in the Grade 3 Bob Hope.
He’s faced very good competition so far in his career, so the class of the race will not be overwhelming, but until he can prove to pass good horses, I will look elsewhere in this talented field of six.
The fourth of the Baffert brigade, this son of Good Magic is the only horse in the field yet to test stakes racing. Still, he looks to have potential.
He was a competitive second in two consecutive one-mile races on the grass to begin his career. After that, he moved to dirt and was a promising runner-up in his first try on the main track.
A game winner at the Sham distance last time, he cannot be discounted in his stakes debut. Having shown speed in each start, he might need to come off the pace with the quick horses in here. I like others better, but it would be no surprise to see him run another good race.
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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