Santa Anita Park is open for a weekend of racing in California. There are two stakes races taking place at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. They aren’t huge events, but a purse of $100,000 in the Thor’s Echo Stakes wouldn’t be a bad payday for the winner. The other stakes event is the Angels Flight Stakes, and on Sunday the running of the Possibly Perfect Stakes will be held.
In comparison to next weekend, this is a small weekend in terms of stakes racing in the US. The grandest race we’ve had in a while will take place at Belmont Park. Typically the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, gets a rare opportunity as the first leg. This is the first time in the history of the Triple Crown that the Belmont Stakes will be the first race, so history will be made.
The Belmont Stakes will naturally not run without fans in the grandstands. Organizers at NBC and Churchill Downs just have to hope that they can run with fans in the stands for the Kentucky Derby. No one has a crystal ball for Labor Day Weekend. We could have a packed house, 50% capacity, or none at all. It should be an exciting summer of racing before we get there, though. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park Pick 3 selections for June 12, 2020.
Post Time: 2:41 p.m. PST
Distance: 1 ⅛ Miles
Race 4 features a small field of five looking for the top prize in a $24,000 purse. This event will be run on the dirt at Santa Anita. I think we could see a bit of a duel unfold between Camino de Estrella and Conquest Cobra. The path to getting to this race has been a bit different for each horse, though. Conquest Cobra is getting a class drop, while Camino de Estrella is going up in class after finding some success recently.
It’s not a huge increase in class for Camino de Estrella, but this should be a tough event to win anyway. He’s been running consistently to place in three straight races. He has been in the top-3 in seven straight races. Just a little more is going to be asked of Camino de Estrella on Friday.
She lost by half a length against Studly Perfection in her most recent performance on May 25. Prior to that, Camino de Estrella lost by a nose on February 8 at Turf Paradise. He is getting really close, and her trainer feels confident that he can race at this level, which is just a bit higher, but not by much at all. Conquest Cobra will pose the biggest challenge for Camino de Estrella.
Conquest Cobra has 8 wins in 40 races, with his most recent win on February 17 at Santa Anita Park. That was the second of two wins for Conquest Cobra in back-to-back events. He won by a head over Fire When Ready in January, and then followed it up with another win by 2 ¼ lengths in February. That was enough to get the call for a higher class, where Conquest Cobra finished 3rd and 4th. He is back down in class and should benefit on Friday.
Post Time: 3:13 p.m. PST
Race 5 should be an entertaining race on the turf over a mile. The event will offer a $50,000 purse, so over double from Race 4. The majority of horses in this race are better than the previous race we just covered. Rawhide Rawlins, Tropical Terror, and Unusually Handsome are on my shortlist here. Rawhide Rawlins is coming off his debut as a first-time starter on May 30. He ran well to finish 3rd behind Count Alexei and Brix.
All three were close, with Rawhide Rawlins finishing 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner, Brix. Rawhide Rawlins showed tremendous drive from the top of the stretch to the wire. He was 9th at the top of the stretch and flew all the way up to 3rd. That was at 5 ½ furlongs, though, so a mile is going to be new to him. This could prove to be too long for Rawhide Rawlins, but the kick he showed at 5 ½ furlongs might suggest Rawhide Rawlins has enough in the tank to go this far.
Tropical Terror is going to be up near the front, or should be given by past results. He can’t get much more consistent, and is likely going to do the same in Race 4 on Thursday. After finishing 5th as a first-time runner on October 20, 2019, Tropical Terror has been in the top-3 in five straight races and top-2 in 4 of 5 performances.
Since February 8, Tropical Terror has placed in three straight outings. He lost by ½, ¾, and most recently 4 ½ lengths against Bud Knight on May 17. There is some serious promise there for Tropical Terror, but he’s still trying to get over the hump for a win. A few solid workouts at 4 furlongs suggest that Tropical Terror isn’t going anywhere.
The way I see it, Tropical Terror is likely going to face dejavu in Race 5. Another close loss could be on the books here. Unusually Handsome has been all over the place in terms of his finishing position, but that is largely a reflection of the competition. This is the easiest race he’s had in his six-race career. The most promising indicator for Unusually Handsome is his E Speed Figure.
Unusually Handsome has recorded E Speed Figure’s of 73, 79, 83, 85, 86, 87 in his six races. He continues to get faster, and if the trend continues, is going to be in even better form today. Unusually Handsome has been getting pushed in workouts, as he’s gotten a couple of 6-furlong workouts in May. He drops a class after finishing 6th in his most recent outing after 2nd and 3rd in back-to-back events. It’d be foolish to think that Tropical Terror isn’t going to be flirting with the top spot again, but Unusually Handsome is worth strong consideration as well.
Post Time: 3:44 p.m. PST
One more race on the Pick 3 for us at Santa Anita Park on Friday. By Santa Anita Park standards, this is a really small race for a $15,000 purse. Abusive Gary will likely be joined by Go for a Ride and All I Say up front near the wire. All I Can Say has 1 win in 10 races in his career and has largely been inconsistent. He’s jumped between Del Mar and Santa Anita since his first race in 2017. The story has largely been the same for All I Can Say. He won in November of 2018, and has finished 4th, 2nd, 7th, 5th, 3rd since.
It’s tough to find an easier race at Santa Anita Park than this, so if he wants to find consistent results in the top-3, another track might be in order. In any case, All I Can Say has looked solid in morning workouts and should be in contention for the top-3.
All I Can Say showed in his return to the track on May 22. He was entering on a layoff, having not raced since February 7, 2019. The layoff must have been good for him, because All I Can Say got into the top-3 for the first time in four races.
Go for a Ride will line up beside Abusive Gary in the gate and will get the inside rail once it opens. He enters this one after some really tough races. Go for a Ride finished 5th, 4th, 7th, 7th in his previous four events. He was 7th in the San Luis Rey Stakes (Gr. 3) on March 21. Other than wanting to enter a stakes event for bragging rights, there wasn’t much of a case for Go for a Ride running well in a graded race.
He followed that up for 7th in a claiming race, so there was no response after dropping in class. Go for a Ride sees another drop going into Friday. This horse was bought for $525,000 in April of 2018. The potential was there, but he was most recently sold for $57,000 last summer. Ouch. That investment did not pay off at all.
Abusive Gary is getting the biggest drop in class in the field. After finishing 4th and 5th in some pretty tough entries, Abusive Gary takes a massive drop in an attempt to find an easy win. Despite finishing 5th in his last outing, it was the best E Speed Figure of his career at 90. Overall, Abusive Gary has a win in eight races, with the win coming in a similar race on January 30. He’s been by far the most impressive horse in the morning. Abusive Gary just completed 4 furlongs at 46.60 seconds on June 7. It’s simple for Abusive Gary. If he comes out of his stall wanting to race on Friday, a victory should be there for the taking.