2022 American Oaks & La Brea Stakes Odds and Picks

Local talent and European influence underpin the two G1 contests for three-year-old fillies at Santa Anita on Monday, with Midnight Memories and Under The Stars spearheading four Bob Baffert runners in the La Brea, and recent British imports Bellstreet Bridie and Mise En Scene taking to the lawn in the 2022 American Oaks

Check out the 2023 American Oaks odds here!

American Oaks

G1, $300,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo fillies, 4.11pm PT

Two angles can help to point bettors towards a conclusion in turf races and they both feature in the American Oaks, which has drawn a large and competitive field.

The first port of call is the European influence, and this comes primarily through Mise En Scene and Bellstreet Bridie, who were a long way apart back home in merrie olde England but are joined at the hip on the morning-line.

Mise En Scene was rated around 20lb superior to Bellstreet Bridie, winning at G3 level as a juvenile and winding up her time ‘over there’ with a very creditable sixth-place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland, beaten six lengths. Fast ground is what she likes and a repeat of that performance would make her hard to beat.

Bellstreet Bridie was nothing much in Britain, taking nine starts to break her maiden before winning a couple of minor events at leaky-roof tracks. However, she looked transformed on her Stateside and stakes debut, leading after halfway and clearing away to win the mile-and-three-eighths G3 Red Carpet at Del Mar by four and a quarter lengths, with longshot Duvet Day eight lengths back in sixth.

That could mean that Bellstreet Bridie has improved considerably, or that the distaff turf scene in California is moderate at best. Maybe somewhere in the middle, but Bellstreet Bridie is a strong stayer and could move up again for the new experience.

The other angle to watch for is Chad Brown, who has any number of high-class fillies and mares in the barn and trusts this job to Salimah, who made her stakes breakthrough when a dominant three-length winner over a mile-sixteenth at Aqueduct. Salimah has major scope for improvement and should have no trouble stretching out, and isn’t shipping across the country just for the sunshine.

A little celebrity stardust comes from last year’s Breeders’ Cup winner Pizza Bianca, third in the G1 Matriarch at Del Mar over a mile last time. It’s debatable whether she really wants to go ten furlongs, as her best form is all at a mile, while barnmate Sparkle Blue also gets some extra yardage after producing a career-best to win the G3 Valley View at Keeneland over a mile-sixteenth. More is needed here.

Skims finally made her stakes breakthrough when taking the G2 Sands Point at Aqueduct over a mile-eighth – Pizza Bianca beaten three lengths into fourth – and has no stamina concerns, while Rhea Moon seemed as though she’d be suited by stretching out when rallying strongly to win the G3 Autumn Miss here over a mile on her stakes debut, with Lady Clementine beaten five lengths into seventh.

2022 American Oaks Odds & Betting Pick 

Salimah could improve past all these but a safer option is MISE EN SCENE, whose sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf reads very well here.

HORSEJOCKEYODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
Rhea Moon (IRE)Juan J. Hernandez+800
Sparkle BlueJoel Rosario+800
Lady Clementine (GB)Lanfranco Dettori+3000
OakhurstHector Isaac Berrios+3000
Bellstreet Bridie (GB)Mike E. Smith+400
Mise En Scene (GB)Tyler Gaffalione+400
Skims (GB)John R. Velazquez+600
Pizza BiancaUmberto Rispoli+600
Salimah (IRE)Flavien Prat+350
Duvet Day (IRE)Kazushi Kimura+2000
School DanceRamon A. Vazquez+1500

La Brea

G1, $300,000, 7f dirt, 3yo fillies, 2.35pm PT

Last week Bob Baffert had the first three in the market for the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity and came away empty-handed – now he has the first four on the morning-line in the La Brea, the highlight of the undercard at Santa Anita on Monday, so can the big battalion win the war this time?

The odds-maker prefers the chance of Midnight Memories, who is moving sweetly through the gears from the G3 Torrey Pines over the Del Mar mile to the G2 Zenyatta here over a mile-sixteenth, in which she put away Awake At Midnyte – zero-for-seven in stakes – to the tune of three and a quarter lengths.

A G1 is the logical move and she’s unbeaten in three here but – like her barnmate Taiba in the Malibu – there’s no certainty that the cutback to seven furlongs is what she’s looking for.

Then there’s Under The Stars, twice a G2 winner here including over today’s distance in the Santa Ynez almost a year ago. She was only fifth in the Torrey Pines, but prefers it at this track and hustled up the mighty Ce Ce when runner-up in the G3 Chillingworth over six and a half last time. Speed is her forte.

Her barnmate Ganadora is three-for-four but was well behind Under The Stars in the mile-sixteenth G2 Summertime Oaks here in June, when dead-heating for fourth with Kirstenbosch. She rebounded to win a mile stakes at Los Alamitos, cruising by eight lengths, but this is tougher and she’s coming off three months on the bench.

The final member of the Baffert quartet is Fun To Dream, four-for-five and making her Graded debut after scrambling home by a head in a seven-furlong state-bred stakes at Del Mar. She has the scope to improve, but that also goes for a couple of her barnmates and she needs to find more to figure.

If there’s one to turn back Baffert’s awesome foursome it could be Hot Peppers who heads west for the first time in her life bidding to build on a year that has already brought her five wins. Her best performance actually came in defeat, runner-up in the seven-furlong G1 Test at Saratoga when caught close home and beaten a length and a half, but she’s never won at seven and has been off for nearly four months since posting a below-par effort back at the Spa.

It’s been the opposite for Ain’t Easy, who has drawn a blank in five starts in 2022 and was beaten on turf in an allowance optional claimer at Del Mar last time out, which makes her hard to like at this level.

La Brea Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

The winner is highly likely to come from Bob Baffert’s four entries and UNDER THE STARS has the right mix of class and speed to see off her barnmates.

HORSEJOCKEYODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
Under the StarsFlavien Prat+350
Hot PeppersTyler Gaffalione+800
GanadoraJohn R. Velazquez+400
Midnight MemoriesRamon A. Vazquez+250
Ain’t EasyJoel Rosario+600
Fun to DreamJuan J. Hernandez+500
KirstenboschKazushi Kimura+1500
Awake At MidnyteMario Gutierrez+800

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