2023 Santa Ynez Stakes Odds & Betting Predictions

The G3 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita took a raincheck last week when the whole afternoon was cancelled owing to a torrential downpour. Now it gets a second chance, and stakes winner Justique heads the field against a triple threat from trainer Bob Baffert in a race he has won the last three years running.

Santa Ynez Stakes

G3, $200,000, 7f dirt, 3yo fillies, 2.30pm PT

We try again, a week on from the washout last Sunday, with the rescheduled Santa Ynez at Santa Anita forming an intriguing double bill of Triple Crown preps along with the colts’ opportunity in the Sham. There are ‘Road to the Kentucky Oaks’ points available on a 10-4-3-2-1 basis, although the ‘Baffert rule’ is of course in play.

This is another chapter in the fluctuating early career of the well-hyped Justique (4-5), who announced her arrival with a bang when winning her debut at Del Mar in breathtaking fashion. She then took half a step back when only third in the G2 Chandelier here over a mile-sixteenth, but redeemed herself in style in a seven-furlong stakes back at Del Mar in November, coasting home under a hand-ride and hinting at plenty more to come.

Justique was almost ten lengths clear of fourth and fifth Parody (5-1) – who led early before weakening – and Huntingcoco (6-1), who was never a factor, and her habit of getting off to a slow start doesn’t seem to matter when she can finish off with such brio. Expect a big mid-race move and a powerful stretch run.

A multiple entry from Bob Baffert – who has won the Santa Ynez a record seven times, and for the last three years – is expected in California stakes races and he sends three to the gate. Huntingcoco has seen the back end of Justique twice since winning on debut, and neither she nor Parody could cope with the morning-line favourite in that aforementioned Del Mar contest.

Parody, who appears the pick of the trio on jockey bookings, went out fast there and could play the same role again, while the third barnmate Fast And Shiny (10-1) has missed the board on all three starts – the last two on turf – since winning on debut and is the least appealing of the Baffert entry.

Another to have already finished behind Justique is Ice Dancing (5-2), who was a half-length adrift in fourth in the Chandelier, although Justique was evidently not at her best there. Ice Dancing was still a maiden on that occasion, but got off the mark next time when rolling gate to wire in a short-field mile maiden at Del Mar, and that should give her a confidence boost.

Two runs off the board in six-furlong stakes – including the G2 Sorrento – suggest that Satin Doll (15-1) might be out of her depth here. That opinion gains further weight following her performance in an allowance optional claimer on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park last month, when she was beaten more than 14 lengths into third.

2023 Santa Ynez Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

Satin DollEdwin A. Maldonado+1500
JustiqueVictor Espinoza-125
HuntingcocoJohn R. Velazquez+600
Fast and ShinyRamon A. Vazquez+1000
ParodyJuan J. Hernandez+500
Ice DancingFlavien. Prat+250

The Baffert trio aren’t overly inspiring and this is best left to powerful stretch-runner JUSTIQUE, an impressive winner last time and capable of better yet.

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