All eyes are on Belmont Park in New York today for the Belmont Stakes. But remember, there are other opportunities out there elsewhere as well. Along with Belmont Park running a card on Saturday, there are nine tracks in the US and one in Canada racing today. Santa Anita Park has 12 races on the card, four of which are stakes events on Saturday. The Lazaro Barrera Stakes, Wilshire Stakes, Snow Chief Stakes, and Dream of Summer Stakes are all today. It’s not typical to see Bob Baffert off the card in a day at Santa Anita Park with stakes races on the agenda, but his focus will be on Gamine at Belmont Park today.
In other words, Belmont Park isn’t the only racetrack in the country with big races. In any event, everything else doesn’t come close to the million-dollar purse for the Belmont Stakes. The biggest stakes race at Santa Anita Park on Saturday is the Snow Chief Stakes with a purse of $150,000. The other three are offering prizes of $100,000. We’ll look at a multi-bet on the Daily Double in two of the late stakes races for late in the afternoon, including the feature race. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park Daily Double selections for June 20, 2020.
Race 9 – Lazaro Barrera Stakes
Post Time: 4:32 p.m. PST
Distance: 6 ½ Furlongs
We will get started with the Lazaro Barrera Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Note that this is a Grade 3 event, with a purse of $100,000 on offer. It will take place on the dirt, with five horses getting the call to race. Collusion Illusion and Ragtime Blues may very well get into a battle in the stretch. Ragtime Blues is a two-time winner looking for a hat-trick on Saturday. He has two wins in three races, with finishes of 2nd, 1st, 1st.
His most recent workout was impressive as well, with a time of 47.40 seconds at 4 furlongs. On April 24, Ragtime Blues won by a head over Backshot in a wire-to-wire performance. He followed up on that race with another win over Zimba Warrior by 2 ¼ lengths. And it was another dominant performance for Ragtime Blues, as he won in wire-to-wire fashion. Now Ragtime Blues is entering a territory that he hasn’t been before. The reliable Mike Smith will be on board Ragtime Blues for this performance.
If Mike Smith and Ragtime Blues didn’t have to race against Collusion Illusion, then the young colt would be a heavy favorite here. However, Collusion Illusion is expected to be a major thorn in the side of Ragtime Blues. The Florida bred Collusion Illusion has done nothing but win in his career. And in the race he didn’t win, he was walked off the track after something didn’t feel right. He didn’t want to run and was wild with wide turns. That happens, and if the horse gets in order the next race, then it isn’t too concerning.
Collusion Illusion won back-to-back races on July 21, 2019 and August 10, 2019, and then did not finish on September 27, 2019 in the American Pharoah Stakes (Gr .1). Collusion Illusion won the Best Pal Stakes (Gr. 2) prior to that race, so he wasn’t expected to be intimidated by the field in the American Pharoah Stakes. That wasn’t his problem, he just wasn’t in the running mood. However, Collusion Illusion followed it up with a win on May 17 and was in terrific shape. He cleared the field and had great kick in the stretch for a 3 length win. Ragtime Blues is a really good horse that I will revisit in the future. For today, though, look for Collusion Illusion to have just enough in him.
Race 10 – Snow Chief Stakes
Post Time: 5:02 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 10 is the feature race of the day at Santa Anita Park with 1 ⅛ miles of racing, just like the Belmont Stakes with a considerably smaller purse size. The Snow Chief Stakes will offer a $150,000 purse, which is still fairly big. Indian Peak, Sacred Rider, and Margot’s Boy will see major consideration in Race 10. Indian Peak and Sacred Rider have about equal chance here according to the odds. I will give the slight advantage to the No. 1 horse Sacred Rider, though.
Sacred Rider has 2 wins in 13, with some decent momentum going his way with finishes of 2nd, 1st, 2nd in his previous three events. He won by 2 lengths over Awesome Summer for a nice performance. In his most recent performance, Sacred Rider finished 2nd behind Governance on May 30. He was the favorite to win, so it was a disappointing result. You have to expect him to be running somewhere up front. Sacred Rider has finished in the top-3 in 7 of his previous 8 races.
This will be the most difficult event for Sacred Rider in his career. He has participated in three stakes races, but all were a bit lower than this class. Sacred Rider finished 2nd in the Gold Rush Stakes, 2nd in the California Cup Derby, and 6th in the El Camino Real Derby. Not bad at all, but Sacred Rider is still in search of a stakes win. That could happen today, but dealing with Margot’s Boy is not going to be easy. This horse is in tremendous form and could very well pop again today.
Margot’s Boy is coming off a hat-trick and is searching for four straight wins on Saturday in the Snow Chief Stakes. He won over Rocks and Salt by 2 ¾ lengths on January 12 at Santa Anita, and then did the same a month later in February by 1 ¼ lengths over Johnny Podres. In his best form of all, Margot’s Boy dispatched Indian Peak by ¾ lengths on May 23. He is coming off a terrific workout on June 13 to complete 5 furlongs at 59.80 seconds. Drayden Van Dyke is a jockey who can typically get the most out of horses of this caliber and should excel on Saturday again.