Grade 3 Santa Barbara Stakes (Race 5)
Santa Anita Race Track: Saturday, May 14th, 3:00 PM P/6:00 PM E
#1 Queen Goddess (6/5), trained by Michael McCarthy & ridden by Victor Espinoza
This 4-year old filly by Empire Maker has hit-the-board (4-1-1) in six of eight career starts with earnings of $385,850. She beat multiple graded stakes winners Going To Vegas and Neige Blanche at 7/1 in the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes on March 26th. She earned an Equibase speed figure of 107 for the third time in her career. Owns the fastest early-pace speed figure (107) and figures to be on or near the lead. Has never run from the #1 post, but owns a Grade 1 win (American Oaks) on opening day (Dec 26th), something no other horse in this field can brag about. First start back from refresher, with plenty of solid workouts leading up. Will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time. Should not be a problem. The "Queen" bids for her third graded stakes win of the meet. The One to Beat!
#2 New Heat (12/1), trained by Anthony Saavedra & ridden by Tyler Baze
Has finished in-the-money (3-3-1) seven of fifteen career starts with earnings of $186,620. Will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time. She loves the turf course at Santa Anita with all three wins occurring on that surface, although has never raced beyond 1 and 3/8 miles. Speed and class figures are well-below her rivals, and will be running off lasix after finishing 6th to Thrumps Dream and Carpe Vinum in an Allowance race at Santa Anita on April 17th. Owns the worst earnings per start figure ($5,741) of these fillies & mares. Trainer wins 9% in all turf routes past two years. Toss!
#3 Queen Ofthe Temple (6/1), trained by Dan Blacker & ridden by Drayden Van Dyke
Takes a major step up in class after winning a MSW turf event (1 3/8 miles) at Santa Anita on April 8th. She earned a carer-best 96 Equibase speed figure. This 4-year old Filly by Temple City has finished in-the-money (1-3-1) in all five starts with career earnings of $83,800. Third start after layoff is often a horse's best. The Sire produces 13% and Dam 10% winners in all turf routes over the past five years. Not that good. I do respect trainer Dan Blacker and his 31% win-rate next start after horse wins. Use Underneath!
#4 Neige Blanche (9/5), trained by Leonard Powell & ridden by Juan Hernandez
Defending champion, looking to win the Santa Barbara stakes in back-to-back years. Has seven wins (four graded) and four thirds from 17 career starts with earnings of $410,012. This 5-year old mare finished third (beaten by 1 1/2 lengths) in the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes on March 26th. Has produced 100+ Equibase speed figures in six of her seven past races (all stakes). Owns the fastest late-pace speed figure (113.5) in this field. Has two wins from two starts going today's marathon distance, both at Santa Anita. The Powell/Hernandez combo are winning 32%. Versatile filly. She has the ability to come from behind or win on the lead. Dangerous. Win Contender!
#5 Cover Version (20/1), trained by Saldana Reed & ridden by Ramon Vazquez
This horse might get scratched. Has five wins, six places, and four shows in 37 career starts, with lifetime earnings of $190,738. She ranks fifth in earnings per start ($7,635) and has declining speed figures in her last three races. That's never a good sign. Is she even ready for this marathon distance? Her last two races were at 6.5f and 7.5f respectively, and has just one 4f work since finishing sixth at 48/1 in a stakes race on April 9th. Trainer Reed 0-for-14 sprint to route of late. I would look elsewhere. Toss!
#6 Carpe Vinum (7/2), trained by Phil D'Amato & ridden by Abel Cedillo
This 5-year old mare by Carpe Diem just might be sitting on a huge race after finishing 2nd (nose) in an Allowance race at Santa Anita on April 17th. The barn reports she can't be doing any better. Only Queen Goddess and Neige Blanche have been consistently running at 1 mile or longer. Carpe Vinum has never finished better than 5th in graded stakes action. Because of that, we should get a "square" price by post time. CV finished 6th, well behind Queen Goddess and Neige Blance in the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes two back. She broke slow and was forced to go wide before settling at the rail. This is a nice revenge spot and considering trainer D'Amato wins 20% in all turf routes over the past two years, Carpe Vium offers tremendous value today. Abel Cedillo is the only jockey to have his picture taken on Carpe Vinum. She's done her best running with Cedillo in the irons. I think CV gets her first graded stakes victory in her third start off the layoff. My Top Choice!
Jeff's Grade 3 Santa Barbara Stakes Selection
Play #6 Carpe Vinum (7/2) to Win & Place