A huge day of racing at Santa Anita Park features a pair of major graded stakes races.
Elders colts at three-years or older will be on the dirt in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes to kick off the day.
There are no odds posted as of Thursday morning for this race, but we have a pretty good idea that there isn't going to be a huge favorite in the field. Moreno is the very likely first choice after his win at the Charles Town Stakes in his last offering, while Brazilian-raced Catch a Flight could also be amongst the favorites in this nine-horse field.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
Moreno is such a pain in the butt horse to watch. Many look at his bottom line, which suggests that he has just four wins in 26 races in his career in the middle of his five-year old year.
There just has to be something here, though. This is a colt that has run in the Breeders' Cup Classic twice, the Whitney Handicap, the Woodward Stakes, the Metropolitan Handicap… big, big Grade 1 races. He was the favorite at the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap earlier this year, only to finish third in yet another disappointment.
However, he was a 7 to 1 longshot at the Charles Town Classic in April and won the race by two lengths; go figure. Remember that Moreno has hit the board 16 times in 26 career starts, and this isn't going to be nearly his most difficult field he has ever run up against.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Doug O'Neill is training two horses in the Californian Stakes, and many are going to be pointing at Bailoutbobby as the pony of choice, knowing that he is strictly a California horse at this point in his career and has had a lot of success running in the minor races this track has to offer.
However, we prefer the style that Sammy Mandeville brings to the table. There's a big question regarding what this colt really brings to the table at four-years old. He has just two wins in his career in 13 races, but he has a win and two places in his four races here at Santa Anita, which does catch our eye.
We know that this is a horse with a big heart, as he has come from behind in virtually every race he has run. There have been varying degrees of success and failure for him for sure, but he is running against a field headed up by the king of inconsistency in Moreno.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
We just don't trust Moreno. This is a colt that's never won in California in his career in eight races, and has only amassed four second place finishes without hitting the board in third in any of the other four.
Moreno will stalk the pace of Big Cazanova at the outset of this one, but we don't think that either of these colts will end up finishing the race by hitting the line first.
We love the price on Sammy Mandeville in this one, and we think that he has a legitimate shot of winning this race. Back him to ultimately win the Californian Stakes at big odds.
Play Sammy Mandeville to win the Californian Stakes
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