There is a lot of horse racing action to get to on Saturday at BetOnline. Eight racecourses are holding cards, with four early tracks in the afternoon led by Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct Racetrack. The west coast is where you will find the biggest race on Saturday. That is the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (Gr. 3) at Santa Anita Park.
That’s the only event that is worth greater than $100,000 today. There are three $100,000 races, one at Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and Aqueduct. We will target Santa Anita Park on Saturday, which hopefully results in a multi-bet win on the Daily Double and Pick 3. Multis were very nice to us at TheSportsGeek in 2020. A Pick 5 win at Churchill Downs in May was the highlight of my year.
Santa Anita Park has ten races on the schedule worth a total of $675,000 in prize money. We’ll handicap the biggest race, the La Canada Stakes (Gr. 3), and one of the $100,000 stakes races at Santa Anita. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park Daily Double and Pick 3 selections on January 9, 2021.
Post Time: 3:05 p.m. PST
Race 7 is a mile race on the turf for a $61,000 purse. This event is expected to include ten runners on the grass. Airman and Earls Rock are on my shortlist for the race. Airman is winless in two races, but showed great strides after finishing 7th in his debut on Halloween at Del Mar in a $57,000 event.
Following that effort, Airman showed 3rd in another $57,000 event on November 29. Airman was close, only 2 lengths away from a win in that performance. He’s coming off a promising workout on January 2, with a time of 1:00.20 seconds at 5 furlongs. Expect Airman to show something in this race.
Earls Rock looked great in his debut on September 4 overseas at Down Royal. That was a tough race for Earls Rock, but ran well in the event as a 14/1 horse to place 2nd. Earls Rock hasn’t looked as impressive as Airman in morning workouts, though. He was clocked at 1:03.00, 1:02.60, 1:02.80, and 1:02.00 leading up to today at 4 furlongs.
This is his first event on US solid and should do well. However, I think there’s going to be a lot better value on Airman. If Airman can show any improvement from his previous outing where he showed in a $57,000 assignment, the No. 6 horse should be able to get this race done with a trip to the winner’s circle.
Race 8 – La Canada Stakes
Post Time: 3:35 p.m. PST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The second leg of our Pick 3 is the feature race of the day at Santa Anita Park. The La Canada Stakes is a Grade 3 event that will run for 1 1/16 miles on the main track. We should have a good one between Hard Not to Love and Fighting Mad. Hard Not to Love is 5 for 10 in her career, which is a nice strike rate for her. However, Hard Not to Love has been winless in four straight outings.
She went on a hat-trick with three straight wins from October 25, 2019 to February 15, 2020, capped off with a 3 ½ length win in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes (Gr. 2). Since then, Hard Not to Love has gone 2nd, 2nd, 6th, 2nd. In her most recent entry, she lost by ¾ lengths in the $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (Gr. 2) on September 27.
Fighting Mad should give Hard Not to Love something to think about in this one. She is 9 for 5 in her career and has a recent Grade 1 win on August 2 at Del Mar. Fighting Mad defeated Ollie’s Candy by a half length in the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (Gr. 1), which was after a 3 ¼ length win in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (Gr. 2) in May.
In her most recent showing, the mare showed 3rd in the Zenyatta Stakes as the favorite, ousted by Hard Not to Love by ¾ lengths for place claims. She had the lead out of the gate to the top of the stretch, but ran out of gas. Fighting Mad has looked great in morning workouts, with a time of 1:00.80 at furlongs and 1:11.40 at 6 furlongs. I’m sitting on Fighting Mad to bounce back in the La Canada Stakes.
Race 9 – Las Cienegas Stakes
Post Time: 4:05 p.m. PST
Race 9 is the running of the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (Gr. 3), one of two $100,000 stakes races at Santa Anita Park today. Oleksandra and Jolie Olimpica might get into a duel for the top prize in the stretch.
Oleksandra is 7 for 16 in her career and was on a major run before falling out of contention in the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Gr. 1) on November 7. She had finished in the top-3 in eight straight races prior to that performance.
In her last win, Oleksandra beat Kanthaka by a neck in the $250,000 Jaipur Stakes (Gr. 1) on June 20. Prior to that outing, she placed 2nd behind Jolie Olimpico by a half length in the $200,000 Monrovia Stakes (Gr. 2) on May 25. Oleksandra and Jolie Olimpica will meet again on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Jolie Olimpica has not placed worse than 2nd in her career. She has appeared in seven races and either won or placed 2nd. Jolie Olimpica opened her career winning four straight events before going 2nd, 1st, 2nd. In her most recent win, she beat Oleksandra in the race I noted above.
In her last outing, Jolie Olimpica placed 2nd behind Rushing Fall in the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (Gr. 1) on July 11. Despite the half length loss, that was a nice effort against a heavy favorite. In a rematch against Oleksandra, expect Jolie Olimpica to do the same with another win.