The Santa Anita lawn is the stage for all three Graded races at the California track on Saturday, with Going Global the star name on show as she races for the final time in the G2 2022 Goldikova Stakes. Sophomores hold the gaze elsewhere, with Del Mar Derby third War At Sea leading the line in the G2 Twilight Derby and Del Mar Oaks third Cairo Memories doing the same in the G3 Autumn Miss.
G2, $200,000, 1m turf, 3yo+ fillies/mares, 2.04pm PT
It’s hello again and farewell too for two stalwarts of the west-coast distaff turf scene, who lock horns for the final time in the 2022 Goldikova Stakes and at first glance have the race between them. The score stands at 1-1 between Going Global (4-5) and Avenue De France (5-2), and there may not be much between the pair again on what is slated to be Going Global’s final start before retirement.
Twelve months ago, Going Global won the Goldikova by a comfortable length and a half at Del Mar – the race travels between the two big Californian tracks – and the filly has been in fine form this year, winning the G2 Royal Heroine over course and distance as well as the G2 Yellow Ribbon over a mile-sixteenth at Del Mar, in which she spotted Avenue De France 6lb and beat her easily by three lengths.
It was a different story next time, though, as Avenue De France gained her revenge in the mile-eighth G2 John C Mabee at the oceanside circuit, outrunning Going Global (spotting just 2lb this time) to win by a game half-length.
So, one-all with one to play. It’s level weights today, which points to Going Global’s chances, and the cutback to a mile is also a positive for the morning-line favourite, who is five-for-seven at this track. That is another vital piece of the puzzle, as Avenue De France is only one-for-nine here and her recent flurry of good form has all been at Del Mar.
Going Global’s barnmate Burgoo Alley (4-1) won the G3 Autumn Miss over course and distance exactly a year ago but is winless since, including when behind today’s two big hitters in the Yellow Ribbon and the John C Mabee, and it takes a big leap of faith to imagine her flipping the form.
The rest of the field have ground to make up, although England’s Rose (6-1) did beat Avenue De France by three and a quarter lengths when winning a stakes over course and distance just over a year ago. The recent improvement from Avenue De France makes it unwise to trust that form implicitly, and England’s Rose is zero-for-three in Graded stakes since then and comes here off a six-month layoff.
Karakatsie (12-1) has lost nine straight since winning a maiden on debut and is likely to struggle, while Cover Version (20-1) has never won a stakes race and isn’t going to change that at the age of seven, rising eight.
Goldikova Stakes Odds & Betting Pick
Everything – including distance, track, weight differential – looks ideal for GOING GLOBAL, who can sign off a fine career by repeating last year’s success in this race.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Cover Version||Ryan Curatolo||+2000|
|Burgoo Alley (IRE)||Ramon A. Vazquez||+400|
|England’s Rose||Victor Espinoza||+600|
|Avenue de France (FR)||Juan J. Hernandez||+250|
|Going Global (IRE)||Umberto Rispoli||-125|
G2, $200,000, 1m 1f turf, 3yo, 4.06pm PT
It’s a strange name for a race held in mid-afternoon, but a Derby is a Derby and there’s a closely-matched field for the Twilight version, the centrepiece of Saturday’s action at Santa Anita.
It took a long time for War At Sea (5-2) to break his maiden, getting the job done at the sixth attempt, but he has improved with every race since then, winning a stakes over course and distance by three-quarters of a length from Cabo Spirit (6-1) and then moving right up to the G2 Del Mar Derby, also over a mile-eighth.
In a race where the speed stayed in front, War At Sea came running in mid-stretch but didn’t have enough zing to catch the leaders, but was beaten only a length into third with old friend Cabo Spirit a length and a half back in fifth. It was a career-best, and there could be further improvement in store.
In between times Cabo Spirit had done his best work late when winning the mile-sixteenth G3 La Jolla at Del Mar, nipping Perfect Flight (6-1) by a half-length with Irish import Stayincotai (12-1) a tepid fifth on his stakes debut, seven and a half lengths further back, and that victory underlines the potency of the Del Mar Derby form.
Perfect Flight has stuck to the main track since then, narrowly winning an allowance optional claimer here over a mile-sixteenth last time, and might do better back on the weeds. His barnmate Handy Dandy (6-1) is a model of consistency, hitting the board in his last nine starts, but is zero-for-three in stakes and appears more at home on the AOC beat, although he does come here off a mile-sixteenth win at Del Mar – the lightly raced Seven Wonders (15-1) fifth, beaten four and a quarter lengths – and is evidently in good heart at present.
Life on the road appears to suit Speaking Scout (3-1), who in 2022 has had seven starts at seven different tracks and now tries Santa Anita for the first time. He hasn’t looked up to Graded level in three attempts, but ran a career-best latest when making his stakes breakthrough at Hawthorne over a mile-eighth, hosing the field by five lengths. He needs a lot more now but maybe there’s more to come.
This is the first time on the lawn for Go Joe Won (12-1), zero-for-three here but unbeaten in two at Del Mar, most recently a stakes over a mile when he led all the way and the first two pulled miles clear of the third. The surface switch and the possible preference for southern California play against him, while Degree Of Risk (12-1) was third in the G1 Pattison Summer Stakes at Woodbine last year but has never won anything more than a maiden, and is hard to like here.
Twilight Derby Odds & Betting Prediction
He’s a horse on a roll, and WAR AT SEA – who has never won anywhere but here – can build on a recent career-best and regain the winner’s circle.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Seven Wonders||Hector Isaac Berrios||+1500|
|Go Joe Won|
Jose Valdivia, Jr.
|Perfect Flight||Ramon A. Vazquez||+600|
|Handy Dandy||Umberto Rispoli||+600|
|Cabo Spirit||Joe Bravo||+400|
|Stayincotai (IRE)||Victor Espinoza||+1200|
|Degree of Risk||Drayden Van Dyke||+1200|
|Speaking Scout||Juan J. Hernandez||+300|
|War At Sea||Mike E. Smith||+250|
Autumn Miss Stakes
G3, $100,000, 1m turf, 3yo fillies, 5.36pm PT
A big field and a warm favourite for the Autumn Miss, which reads like a re-run of the Del Mar Oaks with no fewer than six fillies coming on here from that G1 affair over a mile-eighth at the oceanside circuit.
None of the half-dozen made a huge impact, but today’s morning-line favourite Cairo Memories (8-5) came out top of the heap when third, fading in the closing stages to be five and three-quarter lengths off the winner Spendarella. There was a neck back to Tezzaray (10-1) in fourth, two lengths to Lucky Girl (20-1) in sixth, another length and a half back to seventh-placed Lady Clementine (20-1), and Gold Dragon Queen (30-1) and Gracelund Gray (8-1) 11th and 13th.
The return to Santa Anita should suit Cairo Memories, who is three-for-four here, all in stakes, and looked good when wiring the field in the G3 Providencia here over a mile-eighth in April (Gold Dragon Queen and Lucky Girl behind). The cutback may not be ideal but Cairo Memories is likely to be a pace factor and can stretch her rivals.
Tezzaray didn’t reproduce the promise of that Oaks run when fourth in a sprint stakes here last time, two and a quarter lengths behind runner-up Pammy’s Ready (5-1), while Lucky Girl has been well beaten in four tries at Graded level since winning a stakes over course and distance in March, when Pammy’s Ready was sixth, beaten three and a half lengths.
The meet’s leading trainer Phil D’Amato sends three to the gate headed by Rhea Moon (6-1), who makes her stakes debut after an impressive score in an allowance optional claimer at Del Mar over a mile, surging past her rivals late on to win going away. That puts her a notch above barnmate Kitty Kitana (12-1), who scrambled home at Del Mar to break her maiden at the fifth attempt, although she had been third in a weak edition of the G3 Sweet Life here over six and a half furlongs in February.
D’Amato’s third-string – at least if the morning-line is a guide – Helens Well (20-1) has lost eight straight since breaking her maiden and hasn’t yet looked capable of contending at this level, while Gimme Mo Baby (12-1) also has just a maiden win to her name and faces a stiff task on her stakes debut.
French import Nadette (6-1) makes her debut Stateside after showing decent form back home, notably when winning a stakes over a mile-eighth at Longchamp in May. Last time out she ran fourth, beaten three lengths, in the mile-eighth G3 Bertrand de Tarragon at Chantilly, an encouraging performance, but easy ground seems to be a requirement and she isn’t likely to get it.
Autumn Miss Stakes Odds & Betting Pick
Not as competitive as the big field suggests, and G1-placed CAIRO MEMORIES can get her own way on the lead and maintain her excellent record at this track.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Nadette (FR)||Umberto Rispoli||+600|
|Tezzaray (GB)||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||+1000|
|Pammy’s Ready||Ramon A. Vazquez||+500|
|Gracelund Gray||Mario Gutierrez||+800|
|Lucky Girl (IRE)||Ryan Curatolo||+2000|
|Helens Well (IRE)||Tiago Josue Pereira||+2000|
|Lady Clementine (GB)||Joe Bravo||+2000|
|Rhea Moon (IRE)||Juan J. Hernandez||+600|
|Gold Dragon Queen||Ricardo Gonzalez||+3000|
|Cairo Memories||Mike E. Smith||+160|
|Gimme Mo Baby||Edwin A. Maldonado||+1200|
|Kitty Kitana (GB)||Hector Isaac Berrios||+1200|
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