If you are a fan of stakes racing, then Saturday is your day and that’s no different this Saturday throughout the country. There are a lot of people who only care about Triple Crown season, and if that’s your thing, then the Road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita Park, and Aqueduct Racetrack today. There are three 85-point stakes races on the docket, with 50 points going to the winning teams. Not only does Santa Anita Park have a prep race with the San Felipe, but also Grade 1 events to dig into this afternoon.
Our first look today is at Aqueduct, where the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (Gr. 3), a prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby will be held. We can’t miss out on all of the high stakes racing at Santa Anita as well. Santa Anita Park has 11 races scheduled to be run for a total of $1,842,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park selections and San Felipe Stakes pick for March 6, 2021.
Post Time: 1:39 p.m. PST
Race 4 will get us started at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. Eight horses are scheduled to participate in the event. Pistachio Princess and Ensleys Dream should do well in this one, both with claims to win on the main track. Pistachio Princess looked fine in her debut run on January 16 at Santa Anita.
She was 4th in a $61,000 event and there were some small positives to take from the effort. She showed a mild response heading into the stretch, but was in tough against a difficult field. Pistachio Princess drops to a $50,000 assignment and should find this easier to navigate. With an easier race in her sights, it’s hard to discount Pistachio Princess here.
Ensleys Dream is winless in four races, but has been consistent and knocking at the wire. She has finished 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd in her career. In her most recent outing, Ensleys Dream ran well to place 2nd behind Maddie’s Mojito in a $61,000 event. Both horses are sliding down to a more winnable target on Saturday. Pistachio Princess is getting there, but needs a bit more work. I’m going with Ensleys Dream to strike.
Race 6 – San Felipe Stakes
Post Time: 2:45 p.m. PST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (Gr. 2) is one of three stakes races on Saturday. This $300,000 event covers 1 1/16 miles on the main track, with seven horses vying for a spot in the Kentucky Derby. We have two horses that have a decent shot at winning the Derby and they are both in Bob Baffert’s barn.
Medina Spirit and Life Is Good are both leading contenders for the San Felipe on Saturday. Medina Spirit is a two-time winner in three performances. He looked in great form in his maiden on December 11 at Los Alamitos, beating First Class Dad by 3 lengths in a $42,000 event.
He made his stakes debut in the $100,000 Sham Stakes (Gr. 3) on January 2. That was a nice run, placing 2nd, but was edged out by Life Is Good by ¾ lengths. Medina Spirit came back on January 30 to beat Roman Centurian by a neck in the $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Gr. 3).
I think Baffert wanted to see a little more out of the favorite, but it was nevertheless a respectable performance. Medina Spirit is going to need more in the San Felipe if he wants to see 50 points. Life Is Good is going to be tough to beat if current form holds on Saturday. He is a two-time winner, and was incredibly impressive as a rookie on November 22.
Life Is Good smashed the field on November 22 in his maiden. He ran away from the field for a 9 ½ length lead. Mike Smith didn’t have to do anything aboard Life Is Good. It was a dominant wire-to-wire performance from Life Is Good, and probably could have won by more than 10 lengths if he wanted. For Smith, it was more of a workout than a competitive race. He had to fight in his next outing, but held off Medina Spirit. I’m backing the No. 1 horse, a clear contender for the Kentucky Derby.
Post Time: 3:20 p.m. PST
A $78,000 allowance event on the turf is the basis of Race 7. Eight horses are expected to participate in the race, with Whisper Not and Rip City on my shortlist to win this assignment. Rip City has been on a nice roll since January 1, 2020. Since then, he’s gone 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd.
In his latest win, Rip City was a winner by a head in a $58,000 event on November 11 at Del Mar. Rip City had to dig deep and rally to get there first, but was the best at the wire. In his next performance, Rip City placed 2nd behind finished a nose behind Comradery for a $63,000 event on January 9.
Whisper Not has been on a nice run since winning in July overseas. The British bred Whisper Not has finished 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd in his previous five entries. He made his graded stakes debut on December 26 and did well, showing 3rd in the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (Gr. 2).
In his most recent outing, the $123,438 Whisper Not placed 2nd behind Gregdar by a length for a $63,000 prize. Whisper Not was in control of that race, and had the head from the gate until the final stretch run. Gregdar put on a nice rally to catch Whisper Not, who was the heavy favorite. I am with Whisper Not to bounce back.