There is an action packed day of racing across North America on Saturday. There are 11 tracks open for racing, with ten in the US and Woodbine in Canada hosting a racecard. The deeper we get into the summer, the more options will be available. This is the most races that I’ve seen in a day for a while.
However, the real big day will come next weekend with the running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. That represents the first leg of the Triple Crown. There will be a total of six graded events offered at Belmont next Saturday. Bob Baffert, who uses Santa Anita Park as his home track, has had a dose of bad luck over the last month.
Charlatan is out of the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby with an ankle injury, while Nadal retired because of an ankle injury. Both were favorites to win the Kentucky Derby not too long ago. Authentic didn’t look great for Baffert in a recent race, so there’s been a dark cloud hovering over the famed trainer in just a few weeks’ time.
There was also bad news for other stables, as Maxfield, a trainee of Brendan Walsh, is off the grid with a fracture. That’s the danger of putting serious money on a horse too early. It should still be a thrilling Belmont Stakes, with Tiz the Law the betting leader in the field a week before race day at Belmont Park. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park Pick 5 and Pick 6 selections for June 13, 2020.
Pick 6: Race 4-9
Pick 5: Race 5-9
Post Time: 2:32 p.m. PST
Distance: 1 Mile
Race 4 will get our Pick 6 card started at Santa Anita Park. The last time we did a Pick 5 and Pick 6, we came two picks short of completing the win at Gulfstream Park. Good day for straight betting, but it doesn’t matter on a multi-bet. In the first leg of this ticket, we’re expecting a duel between Challah and Worthy Turk.
For Challah, he’s dropping a class after finding his last race a bit too tough. He won on November 23, 2019, and then placed in back-to-back events on January 26 and February 23. Challah has run well in three races, and not so much in higher classes. This is a drop down from March 21, but it’s not an auto-win race for Challah.
Worthy Turk has been in contention and knocking on the door. He finished 3rd on March 22 and 2nd on May 16 by a half length behind Liberal. Worthy Turk has finished in the top-3 in 7 of his previous 9 races. His most recent workout on June 7 was terrific, with Worthy Turk completing 5 furlongs at 1:00.40. Worthy Turk should be taken seriously in this race, with Challah coming close to finding a win as well. I will side with Worthy Turk, which should be an easy assignment for him.
Post Time: 3:13 p.m. PST
Race 5 features a $28,000 purse for seven horses running 7 furlongs on the dirt track. Little Miss Ellie, Instastory, and Blazing Charm are going to be in the mix for this race. Little Miss Ellie gets the outside out of the gate as a first-time runner.
She doesn’t have any experience, but has looked good in morning workouts. Little Miss Ellie completed 5 furlongs with a time of 1:00.80 and 4 furlongs with a time of 48.20 seconds in June. Likely going to be a major contender in the future, but probably a bit too much to handle on Saturday in this event.
Blazing Charm is going to be more of a threat than Little Miss Ellie after an impressive racecourse debut on March 14. She placed behind Galwalksintoabar by 2 ¼ for a solid performance for 2nd. Little Miss Ellie was a pretty decent underdog in that race, but beat all of the betting favorites.
The top-5 was composed of underdogs actually, while the favorites all had brutal runs in that event in March. A big superfecta was up for grabs in that one. Little Miss Ellie is coming off a 48.80 second workout on June 7 at 4 furlongs.
Instastory had a similar racecourse debut on May 15. She placed as a first-time runner behind Flying Business by a head. Instastory was an even bigger underdog than Little Miss Ellie, but surprised against more experienced horses in that event. Her workouts have been in good form, with times of 49.40, 49.80, and 50.20 seconds in the last month. Expect to see another bold run by Instastory to put her in major contention in the stretch.
Race 6 – Thor’s Echo Stakes
Post Time: 3:34 p.m. PST
The third leg of our Pick 6 ticket will feature 6 furlongs of racing for a $100,000 purse on the dirt. This is one of two stakes races at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. The Thor’s Echo Stakes is the bigger of the two. With only five horses involved in the field, I have a small shortlist consisting of Desert Law and Tiger Dad, the two horses on the inside are likely going to be the strongest participants in the Thor’s Echo Stakes.
Tiger Dad is on a consistent run dating back to the start of 2019. Since January 4, Tiger Dad has been in the top-3 in ten straight races, which includes three wins on January 4, 2019, August 16, 2019, and February 2, 2020. He won comfortably by 6 ¼ lengths in a warmup for the Tiznow Stakes (Black Type). It was a good run from Tiger Dad, but didn’t live up to expectations, finishing behind Oliver and Fashionably Fast. That’s the only stakes race of his career until today.
Desert Law is defending his crown in this race. He’s the defending Thor’s Echo Stakes’ winner from 2019. Desert Law won that race by 6 ¼ lengths and cleared the field with ease in the stretch. He had a 3 length lead at the top of the stretch and built on it. Desert Law was the favorite in that race and is the favorite again for the 2020 Thor’s Echo Stakes.
Since that performance, Desert Law raced in just one event on Bing Crosby Stakes (Gr. 1) on July 27, 2019. It was an impressive performance to place against a tough field. He lost by a half length as an underdog in a Grade 1 race. Nothing to be ashamed about with that.
He has been in the stable since then, but the layoff shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Desert Law completed 5 furlongs at 59.60 seconds, and 6 furlongs at 1:13.80 and 1:12.60 in May and June. Desert Law should be able to defend his crown, and win the Thor’s Echo Stakes in back-to-back years. I will likely play Desert Law in a straight wager as well.
Post Time: 4:06 p.m. PST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
Back down in class for Race 7, as a $28,000 purse is on offer for Race 7. This is the sandwich race between the two stakes events. Six horses are going to give 5 ½ furlongs on the turf a go on Saturday afternoon. Kris’ Wild Kat and Go Time are likely going to be the strongest horses out of the gate in this one.
Go Time won as a first-time starter on August 16, 2019 and immediately tried a more difficult race thereafter. It didn’t go too well, as Go Time showed no fight in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (Gr. 3) for 8th. Purchased for just $15,000 in September of 2018, Go Time may prove to be a nice investment. However, it was clear that a Grade 3 race was too much of an ask for him.
Kris’ Wild Kat made his first outing in about a month in May. It was a solid return to the track after finishing 3rd on May 16. This was after Kris’ Wild Kat finished 2nd on May 31, 2019 and went on a lengthy hiatus. Go Time and Kris’ Wild Kat are going to run close in this one, with a slight edge to Kris’ Wild Kat, who has been in slightly better form than Go Time.
Race 8 – Angels Flight Stakes
Post Time: 4:38 p.m. PST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
What would Saturday be without Bob Baffert having an entry in a stakes race? Baffert will enter Gingham into the Angels Flight Stakes. Mike Smith, who I would say at this point is his No. 2 jockey behind Drayden Van Dyke, will be aboard Gingham for the Angels Flight Stakes. It’s a small purse for a stakes race at Santa Anita Park, with $75,000 up for grabs. Been Studying Her, piloted by Flavien Pratt, will be a worthy challenger. Between Been Studying Her and Gingham, one of them is a likely winner on Saturday.
Been Studying Her is the betting favorite on the morning-line at +180. She is a winner in 3 of 7 races in her career, but has been winless in three straight outings. Been Studying Her finished 4th, 11th, 3rd, all Black Type stakes events. Her most recent victory was in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes (Black Type) on November 1, 2019. In two other stakes races, Been Studying Her finished 1st in the Generous Portion Stakes (Black Type) on August 28, 2019 and 4th in the Chandelier Stakes (Gr. 1). Despite 4th in that race, I’d say that’s been her best form.
Gingham was an expensive purchase for $250,000 in September of 2018. She has been good, but still looking for a win in a stakes race. Her best performance might have been in the Starlet Stakes (Gr. 1) on December 7, 2019, similar to Been Studying Her in the Chandelier Stakes. A 2nd place finish in the Las Virgenes Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 8 was impressive, too. That was two races ago for Gingham. Since then, Gingham finished 5th in the Gardenia Stakes (Black Type). It should be a good race between those two horses. I will lean with Baffert and Gingham to get it done.
Post Time: 5:10 p.m. PST
Santa Anita Park will close out the day with 7 furlongs for a $20,000 purse on the dirt. It’s a fairly wide-open race with a few worthy participants. More Honor, Dark Hedges, and Little No Way should be involved in the event. More Honor has finished 2nd, 4th, 4th in his previous three races and is a winner in 2 of 15 races in his career. His most recent win was back on October 27, 2018. He’s been in the top-3 in just one race, which was 2nd on November 29, 2019. While that doesn’t seem promising, this isn’t a hard race and workouts have been good for More Honor.
Dark Hedges drops way down in class after finding no traction on March 6 and May 24. Prior to those races, Dark Hedges was 1st on November 30, 2019 and 2nd on January 31. He’s been on and off in his career. In eight career races, Dark Hedges has finished 2nd, 1st, 9th, 8th, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 9th. So as soon as he gets momentum, Dark Hedges tries tougher races and struggles. If the trend continues, Dark Hedges will either place or win on Saturday. This is a race of the easier variety, so that’s certainly within reason.
Little No Way is singing a similar song on Saturday. He drops in class for today. Little No Way won on May 26, 2019, tried a couple of tough events, and is back down again. He finished 7th on July 6, 2019 and 6th on May 31 after a long layoff. Just like Dark Hedges, he’s looking for easier pastures in Race 9 at Santa Anita on Saturday. Dark Hedges has either won or placed in this class in past events. 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd has been his results against this kind of competition. I will take my chances on Dark Hedges at +250 on the morning-line.