The Grade 2 $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby features the two biggest names from the Triple Crown trail September 24 at Parx as a field of 12 gathers in one of the most intriguing betting races of the year.
$200,000 Santa Maria Shapes Offers Good Betting Value
The Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Maria is the eighth and featured race February 14 at Santa Anita with an intriguing field of ten set to go the mile and one sixteenth distance on the main track.
Paseana Stakes winner Warren’s Veneda is the 2/1 morning line favorite for trainer Craig Lewis. The five year-old California-bred daughter of Affirmative won the January 11 Paseana over a talented field that included the well-regarded Bob Baffert trainee Tiz Midnight, who was scheduled to run in the Santa Maria before defecting as a late scratch. Prior to that effort, Warren’s Veneda finished second to Tiz Midnight in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos, and has won 6 of 20 career starts for earnings over $467,000.
Hollendorfer filly looks solid
Jerry Hollendorfer trains 5/2 second choice Thegirlinthatsong, who won that Grade 2 La Canada January 17 at Santa Anita to begin her four year-old season. The win marked Thegirlinthatsong’s fifth victory in 19 starts and her first graded stakes score. Jockey Rafael Bejarano gets the call breaking from post number two. With the scratch of Tiz Midnight, Thegirlinthatsong will battle for post-time favoritism with Warren’s Veneda.
Price could be right on Awesome Baby
Bob Baffert will saddle the speedy Awesome Baby (6/1) who returned from a nine month layoff December 28 to run fifth in the Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita. Awesome Baby, a multiple graded stakes winner, is sure to have benefitted from that effort, but will need to return to her old form to have an impact against her Santa Maria rivals.
The $1 million Cotillion Stakes September 24 at Parx features a true clash of the titans as the six-horse field is headlined by the undefeated, five-time grade 1 winner Songbird who figures to face the most stern challenge of her career.
In a completely wide open renewal of the Presque Isle Mile September 18 at Presque Isle Downs, 13 runners including the also-eligible will contest the eight furlong trip over synthetic footing.
Champion Songbird is set to make her much-anticipated return to the races in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Grade 2 event will be run at a mile and a sixteenth and has attracted a field of seven.