San Antonio Stakes (02/06/15)
The Grade II San Antonio Stakes is the first major race of the year for older horses (4 years-old and up). In its 81st year, the San Antonio is run at 9 furlongs on the dirt at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California with a purse of $500K.
And while the legendary Seabiscuit won this contest 75 years ago, The 2015 edition has been dubbed the San Antonio Showdown as Horse of the Year, California Chrome faces superstar Shared Belief. These two squared off just a few months ago in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, and finished third and fourth respectively.
Live coverage begins on Fox Sports 1 at 5:30 EST with post time at 7pm EST.
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At first glance this is a two horse race; however we'll discuss two other runners that could make exotic wagering more interesting.
The morning-line second choice (6-1 odds behind California Chrome) in the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Hoppertunity was scratched a few days before the race due to a foot injury. He came back to the track with a vengeance winning both the Grade I Clark (11/28) and Grade II San Pasqual (1/10/15). Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, this notorious tandem guided Bayern to the winner's circle in the controversial 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic.
From a Pace Figure perspective his lifetime top was a 79/65.9 (final/4f) on 11/28, followed by a 75/68.2. Founder Cary Fotias would give horses like this a pattern of his own - NDAW, Never Done Anything Wrong. And while the notion is simple, the underlying principle NDAW is a runner who continues to improve regardless of the step up in competition.
The Play: Fringe Contender – The rail, 28 days rest, Baffert and a juicy price that will be north of his morning line odds make him worth a look.
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