In the Gold Cup yesterday, the only real surprise was how flat Stay Thirsty looked. I had a bad feeling when he dropped back a few spots and then tried to rally. The good part was seeing Flat Out have an excellent race and finally breaking through. He had all the makings for winning a G1 and he proved himself well yesterday. Today, we are going to head west and look at the 43rd running of the Oak Leaf (G1) at Santa Anita for 2YO fillies. The distance is a mile and one sixteenth over the synthetic surface for a purse of $250,000.
This 2YO feature race has 10 fillies and some of the best on the west coast. I can see several winning this race, and frankly there should be plenty of value here due to no one being odds on favorite. I would consider it to be wide open, and anyone of them could find their stride and take it. Here is how I see it:
#2 Self Preservation ML 4/1
This Ben Cecil charge made her first start in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and had all sorts of problems. She was bumped at the start, steadied early and then found her stride and finished second to Weemissfrankie. I look for PVal to have a smoother trip and stay a bit closer and win this race. She can go the distance, has the speed and her workouts have been bullets at 6f. She looks like a solid “go”.
#4 Candera ML 4/1
She has won her first two races including a recent win at the Fairplex in a stakes race. Her breeding shows going a route will be no problem and both wins were going away. You can’t ignore the 85 Beyer last out, the highest of the group. What makes her interesting is that Baffert puts his number one rider, Martin Garcia on her and takes off Pedroza, and puts Pedroza on the horse Garcia had been riding. For me, that is a Baffert signal this filly is ready, even though she is coming back on 15 days rest.
#8 Weemissfankie ML 5/2
She is the only G1 winner in the bunch winning the DelMar Debutante soundly. Her pedigree says she do the distance and has paired 77’s showing consistency. I’m not sure this filly will dominate again and with Candera’s front end speed, she may have to race differently to win it. She is good one, but I like the #2 and #4 a bit better.
#9 Dreamcaster ML 8/1
This is the other Baffert entrant that didn’t show much in the Debutante at DelMar finishing 7th after being on the pace till the stretch. What I find interesting is her Beyers are consistent regardless of how she finished. Not sure if she has the speed of the top three but the distance might play into her hands. Her breeding shows she can go this distance easily and maybe having the slick Pedroza on board will make the difference.
#10 Charm the Maker ML 8/1
This is a pedigree/key race angle here. This filly is out of Empire Maker who won the Belmont and her Dam won at the G3 level at this distance. The show horse won at Golden Gate recently and this filly posted a competitive Beyer of 68 in her maiden win. McAnally has a 23% winning record with 2YO’s and to drop her into a G1 on her second start says something to me. Garrett Gomez is on board and he has been nailing big races of late. I like her enough to win, in the Trifecta for sure.
#5 My Gi Gi ML 15/1
This is one of those “beware the shipper” fillies, coming in from Louisiana Downs. She finished second by a head in a $100K stakes race going a mile on grass. Her speed fig was a 77 which puts her at the top and likes to rate in the middle of the pack which may work out perfectly. The interesting play here is that her new trainer has an excellent record with dirt to turf, and she gets Chantal Sutherland today. Lastly, the show horse in her maiden win, won next out by 9, she could surprise us all today.
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I will not be posting the Balmoral Pick 4 Selection this evening due traveling on business.