2023 Santa Monica Stakes Odds & More Santa Anita Races

The top level racing action continues from Santa Anita this weekend with the G2 2023 Santa Monica Stakes headlining this Saturday’s card. The Santa Monica Stakes are supported by two Grade 3 contests the Megahertz Stakes and Thunder Road Stakes.

The Santa Monica Stakes will see six horses head down to post for this year’s renewal and will see Fun To Dream and Awake At Midnyte renew their rivalry from the La Brea Stakes where they finished first and second. The Megahertz Stakes takes place on the Santa Anita turf where eight runners are expected to take their chance in this renewal. A tough betting heat, it’s expected that School Dance and Closing Remarks will be battling it out for supremacy.

Staying on the turf, and the final race on the card comes is the Thunder Stakes. Another good race looks to be on the cards with Air Force Red likely to start as the horse to beat.

Santa Monica Stakes

Grade 2, seven furlongs, Dirt, open to fillies and mares aged four and over. Total prize pool: $200,000

It makes perfect sense to start the preview for this year’s Santa Monica Stakes by looking at the two favorites – Fun To Dream and Awake At Midnyte. This will be the third time that these horses have met with each horse beating the other once.

When the horses last met in the La Brea, it was Fun To Dream who just shaded the contest. Having first run on the rest of the field, jockey Juan Hernandez had Fun To Dream ideally placed, and despite the late urgings of Awake At Midnyte, it was a case of too little too late, as she hung on for a game success.

Backers of Awake At Midynte shouldn’t be deterred by the outcome of the La Brea, as Awake At Midnyte as lowered Fun To Dream’s colours before. Her defeat in the La Brea could be put down to poor race placement, it certainly didn’t look like Fun To Dream was the classier horse. Expect these two to match each other stride for stride, with the race being settled down the stretch.

Outside of the top two, there are several horses who will be hoping to play the role of spoiler. One such horse will be Lady T. Lady T heads into this contest fresh off the back of a victory in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes. Her victory in that race was snug, but came over six furlongs. Everything about her performance smacked of wanting further and with this race being contested over seven furlongs she could really enjoy the extra distance.

In the Las Flores, Lady T held off the attentions of both Samurai Charm and Anacapa, who both reoppose her here.

Samurai Charm headed into the Las Flores as the race favorite but could only finish fourth. She looked a little tapped for toe over six furlongs and her connections will hope the extended furlong could assist her chances.

For Anacapa the Las Flores was a muddling race with the Carla Gaines horse being stuck at the back for the majority of the contest. She did look to have some burst coming down the home straight but was too far behind the leaders to make an impact. She could be one to watch with interest here.

The field is rounded out by Angel Nadeshiko and she will start as the outsider of the contest. She arrives at Santa Anita having lost to the likes of Lady T and Fun To Dream in the past and she will have to run a career best if she is to have a say in proceedings.

2023 Santa Monica Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
AnacapaJohn R. Velazquez+1500
Fun to DreamJuan J. Hernandez+160
Samurai CharmFlavien Prat+400
Angel NadeshikoMike E. Smith+800
Awake At MidnyteMario Gutierrez+250
Lady TVictor Espinoza+300

This year’s renewal of the Santa Monica looks set to be a classic with both Fun To Dream and Awake At Midnyte set to renew their intriguing rivalry. Whilst both horses must be respected, the extra furlong could see Lady T run a big race and at the prices, she could be the one to back.

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Megahertz Stakes

Grade 3, one mile, Turf, open to fillies and mares aged four and over. Total prize pool: $100,000

Eight horses take the filed for this year’s renewal of the Megahertz Stakes. This looks like it could be one of the races of the day with several horses in with a chance of victory.

Likely to start as one of the favorites will be School Dance who will represent the Phil D’Amato yard. She heads into the race having won two of her last three contests. Whilst she didn’t win last time out in the American Oak Stakes, she still won a great race to finish second. That was raced over a mile and two furlongs and the drop back to the mile should be seen as a positive.

D’Amato will arrive at the Megahurtz with a strong hand as he also saddles Hamwood Flier. She has won two of her last four starts but will arrive at this race having been off the track for almost ten weeks. Her last performance came in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes, and she ran with real credit to finish fourth. She tried to make all that day before being chased down by the excellent Regal Glory. With her sights lowered here, she certainly has the class to win this race.

Closing Remarks is another horse who will attract plenty of attention. An interesting horse to gauge, she has only won once in her last twelve starts, but has placed numerous times. Her last race came in the Robert J Frankel Stakes and she finished second after a 280 day layoff. That run was full of promise, and she should be much fitter for this contest. If able to run to her potential she could be a danger to all in the field.

Looking to have her say in the contest will be the Johnathan Thomas trained Bay Storm. A winner of one of her last four starts, she was able to finish third in the grade 3 Suwannee Stakes, despite having been of the track for 112 days. Like others in this race, she will hope to strip fitter off the back of her last run.

Nadette for Neil Drysdale heads into the race having been off the track for almost 100 days, but heads to Santa Anita following a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes. She tried to come from way off the pace in that race and had the race been 100 yards longer she could have pulled off a breathtaking victory. Look for her to fly down the home straight late.

Megahertz Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
Bay StormJohn R. Velazquez+500
Hamwood Flier (IRE)Juan J. Hernandez+400
Nadette (FR)Umberto Rispoli+500
Closing RemarksJoe Bravo+350
One Silk StockingLanfranco Dettori+1200
School DanceRamon A. Vazquez+300
Quattroelle (IRE)Hector Isaac Berrios+800
OakhurstFlavien Prat+800

A great looking renewal awaits us here with several horse in with a chance of victory. Despite finishing fourth last time out, Hamwood Flier ran in a much classier race than this last time out and could be a super bet at a decent price. She will look to lead and go off fast, and if afforded too much rope might be hard to claw back.

Thunder Road Stakes

Grade 3, one mile, Turf, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $100,000

The final race on Santa Anita’s Saturday card comes in the form of the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes and nine horses will take their chance.

Air Force Red looks to be one of the more likely contenders for the contest and is looking to win his third race in succession.

His last victory came in thrilling style when he was victorious in the Grade 2 Joe Hernandez Stakes. Showing terrific speed to grab the initiative of the race – he showed his versatility and ended up hanging on for a terrific victory. The Thunder Road represents a big step up in distance but the way he finished off his last race would suggest this trip won’t be too much of a problem.

Looking to upset the favorite will be Earls Rock who will have the services of Flavian Prat to call upon. Like Air Force Red, he heads into the race following a win in an optional claimer. The manner of his victory was workmanlike, and he will need to show much more here if he is to lower the colors of the favorite.

Hit The Road is a horse that has been aimed at some really big Grade 1 races  but has often found life at the highest level too hot to handle.  A return to this level could be seen as a positive. However, he has now gone five starts without a win and came tenth in the Joe Hernandez which was won by Air Force Red.

Cabo Spirit is another who has been highly tried but has found life at the highest level just a bit too tough. He returns to this grade looking for his second win in his last three starts. His chances must be respected due to the fact he won the Grade 2 Twilight Derby just two starts ago. His connections will be confident of taking another big race victory here.

One of the most interesting horses in the race must be Dark Shift who will be having his second start since moving to the States. A solid handicap level horse when trained in Britain, Dark Shift will be able to call upon the services of Frankie Dettori who will know him well. He finished fifth on his American debt and should be smarter here. At a decent price he could be an interesting value angle.

Thunder Road Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
Earls Rock (IRE)Flavien Prat+500
Du JourUmberto Rispoli+1500
AnacondaEdwin A. Maldonado+600
Bob and JackieJose Valdivia, Jr.+1500
Kiss Today GoodbyeKyle Frey+3000
Irideo (ARG)Hector Isaac Berrios+1500
There Goes HarvardJohn R. Velazquez+800
Air Force RedJuan J. Hernandez+300
Hit the RoadKazushi Kimura+500
Dark Shift (GB)Lanfranco Dettori+800
Cabo SpiritJoe Bravo+600

A fascinating race awaits us here with many horses  in with a chance of victory. Air Force Red will be hard to stop but at a price it could be worth considering Cabo Spirit. His recent Grade 2 win was impressive and he could be a viable alternative to the favorite.

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