Richard Baltas prides himself in having a “racing stable,” and race he will when the Winter Meet at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., starts on Saturday, showcasing seven stakes, three of them Grade 1.
Fresh from capturing the Del Mar training championship, Baltas has 10 horses entered on the 11-race opening day card, eight of them in stakes, including Lady Prancealot in the G1 American Oaks, Del Mar May and Motion Emotion in the G1 La Brea, Excellent Sunset in the G3 Robert J. Frankel and Neptune's Storm and Bob and Jackie in the G2 Mathis Brothers Mile.
“She got a very good trip last time with (Joe) Bravo,” Baltas said of Lady Prancealot, a consistent but troubleprone Irish-bred filly that won the G3 Valley View at Keeneland Oct. 18. “She got a big number (91 Beyer), and if she can duplicate that, she'll probably win.”
Motion Emotion shortens up in the seven furlong La Brea after two straight races at a mile and one-sixteenth, including victory last out in the Zia Park Oaks.
“It might be too short for her, but it's the last Grade 1 race in her 3-year-old year and she came out of the race good, she's doing well, so we're going to take a chance,” Baltas said.
Excellent Sunrise was beaten a head and a nose as the favorite in her last two starts at a mile on turf at Del Mar, and Baltas removes the blinkers from the Irish-bred mare in the Frankel at 1 1/8 miles on turf. “She seems to be training really well,” he said.
Neptune's Storm has never been out of the money in his last 11 races and figures to have another strong showing in the G2 Mathis Brothers Mile on turf.
“He lost to Mo Forza twice and Mo Forza's the race favorite, but Neptune's Storm is a damn good horse who's made over $600,000. We're looking for a good start and a good meet.”
Santa Anita's opening week schedule offers live racing Sunday, Dec. 29; New Year's Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1; and Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Jan. 5.
First post time opening day is 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.
Santa Anita's opening day stakes: the $75,000 Lady of Shamrock, race two: Keeper Ofthe Stars, Abel Cedillo, 5-2; Brill, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Bodhicitta, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Mischiffie, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; Angel Alessandra, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Lucky Peridot, Javier Castellano, 4-1; Sold It, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; and Lakerball, Joe Talamo, 12-1.
The G2 San Antonio, race five: Gray Magician, Javier Castellano, 4-1; Gift Box, Joel Rosario, 9-5; King Abner, Tyler Baze, 10-1; Draft Pick, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Mugaritz, Ricardo Gonzalez, 10-1; Midcourt, Victor Espinoza, 2-1; and Fight On, Abel Cedillo, 20-1.
The G1 American Oaks, race six: So Much Happy, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Apache Princess, Javier Castellano, 5-1; Mucho Unusual, Joel Rosario, 4-1; K P Slickem, Jorge Velez, 15-1; Lady Prancealot, Joe Bravo, 2-1; Pretty Point, Mike Smith, 30-1; Giza Goddess, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; and Vibrance, Abel Cedillo, 3-1.
The G1 La Brea, presented as race seven: First Star, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Del Mar May, Joe Bravo, 12-1; Free Cover, Abel Cedillo, 15-1; Stirred, Geovanni Franco, 20-1; Bellafina, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Bell's the One, Javier Castellano, 7-2; Hard Not to Love, Mike Smith, 6-1; Motion Emotion, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; and Mother Mother, Joel Rosario, 6-1.
The G3 Robert J. Frankel, race eight: Tiny Tina, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Excellent Sunset, Joel Rosario, 7-2; Don't Blame Judy, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; Streak of Luck, Jose Valdivia Jr., 5-1; Curlin's Journey, Ruben Fuentes, 6-1; Harmless, Abel Cedillo, 6-1; Mirth, Mike Smith, 5-2; and Ms Peintour, Brice Blanc, 20-1.
The G2 Mathis Brothers Mile, race 10: Sash, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Originaire, Umberto Rispoli, 15-1; Ocean Fury, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Never Easy, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Mo Forza, Joel Rosario, 9-5; Neptune's Storm, Abel Cedillo, 3-1; Kingly, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Proud Pedro, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Barristan The Bold, Javier Castellano, 12-1; Loafers Boy, Tiago Pereira, 50-1; and Bob and Jackie, Heriberto Figueroa, 6-1.
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