Your best bet for expert analysis and betting news

Gold Rush Day Sunday at Santa Anita

Santa Anita
Santa Anita hosts Gold Rush Day on Sunday. (Photo: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com).

Lightly raced but well at home on turf, Mark Glatt’s Old Pal appears a solid fit in his first stakes assignment as a field of seven sophomores try a mile and one eighth over the Santa Anita lawn in the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes on Sunday.

Santa Anita hosts Gold Rush Day on Sunday, five stakes restricted to California breds.

Named for one of the greatest California-breds of all-time and a winner of both the 1986 Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes, the Snow Chief is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

Snow Chief, who was crowned Eclipse Champion 3-year-old colt for 1986 and who banked more than $3.3 million, was trained by the late Melvin F. Stute and Santa Anita is honored to have his widow Annabelle Stute present Sunday’s trophy.

Watch and wager on Santa Anita at PlayUp Racebook. New players can earn up to a $250 deposit bonus!

In a race in which nobody has been beyond a flat mile on dirt or turf, Old Pal, a dazzling 3 ½ length one mile turf winner two starts back on March 25 and a horse who was striding out well late when third, beaten two lengths at the same trip in a statebred allowance here on April 21, should have plenty of speed to run at with leading man Juan Hernandez aloft.

A chestnut colt by Grazen out of the English Channel mare Athina Lee, Old Pal is owned by Blinkers On Racing Stable, Carolyn Corbett, Jai Desai, Frederick Dizonno, et al. Heavily favored in all three of his starts, he’s got a win, a second and a third place finish and earnings of $61,160.

Second, beaten a half length in the same one mile turf allowance Old Pal finished third in on April 21, trainer Brian Koriner’s speedy Boss Sully, who will also be making his fourth start on Sunday and will be ridden for the third time in a row by Hector Berrios.

Owned by Rusty Brown and Alan Klein, Boss Sully was an impressive 2 ¾ length maiden winner versus statebreds going 5 ½ furlongs as the 1-2 favorite on March 18 and was off at 5-2 in his first two turn race on April 21.

A chestnut colt by Street Boss out of the Candy Ride mare Eternally, Boss Sully figures to have theft on his mind as he tries stakes company for the first time.

A bay colt by Distorted Humor out of the Bernardini mare English Garden, Clouseau, in his best performance to date he registered an emphatic 3 ¼ length main track allowance win versus statebreds in gate to wire fashion in his sixth career start on May 5.

A non-factor in two tries on turf, a fourth place finish in his six furlong maiden debut Oct. 16 and in a sixth place effort in his first start going one mile on Nov. 18, Clouseau is nonetheless a horse on the improve and fits nicely in what will be his second stakes assignment.

A winner of three out of his last four starts, all with regular rider Geovanni Franco, Clouseau is owned by ISK Racing Stable, Inc., Rebekah and Tom Lawless, Frank and Karen Lewkowitz and Doug Hames.

Third, beaten 6 ¼ lengths by highly regarded Kangaroo Court two starts back going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt in the statebred Echo Eddie Stakes on April 8, Clouseau has three wins and a third from six starts and earnings of $143,360.

Fran’s Valentine

John Sadler’s Big Switch takes a notable drop in class as she heads a field of seven California-bred or sired fillies and mares going one mile on turf in Sunday’s $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes at Santa Anita.

Owned and bred in California by George Krikorian, Big Switch, most recently third, beaten six lengths by multiple graded stakes winner Adare Manor going a mile and one sixteenth on dirt in Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Maria Stakes April 29, has a win, two seconds and a third place finish, all on dirt, from four starts this year in open company.

A close second to Adare Manor in a one mile allowance here on March 31, she’ll be reunited with Juan Hernandez, who was up for her most recent win, three races back on Feb. 18.

A 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Big out of the Malibu Moon mare Two Faced Moon, Big Switch is a two-time statebred stakes winner who is 9-4-2-1 overall, with earnings of $363,924. A trouble fifth in her only try on grass, a 6 ½ furlong hillside sprint six starts back on Feb. 25, 2022, Big Switch, on pedigree, should handle the transition to grass without a problem on Sunday.

Although late to the Fran’s Valentine entry box, Closing Remarks managed to secure the services of regular rider Joe Bravo, who has been aboard for her last nine starts, which includes a victory in Santa Anita’s Grade II Royal Heroine at one mile on turf two starts back on April 1 as the 6-5 favorite. Closing Remarks was most recently fourth in the Grade III Wilshire at one mile on turf April 30.

A 5-year-old mare by Vronsky, out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks is owned by her breeder, Harris Farms. A two-time stakes winner, Closing Remarks is 19-4-5-4 with earnings of $560,820 and is trained by Carla Gaines.

Ben and Sally Warren’s Warrens Candy Girl, fresh off a solid come from behind score in a second condition allowance at one mile on turf April 22, appears to be at the top of her game as she seeks her second statebred stakes win at her preferred trip of one mile on grass.

A 5-year-old mare trained by Craig Lewis, Warrens Candy Girl is by Clubhouse Ride out of the Affirmative mare Warren’s Jitterbug. With an overall mark of 22-5-6-1, she’s 16-4-6-1 at one mile on turf and has earnings of $419,360.

Melair Stakes

A filly that appears headed to stardom, Doug O’Neill’s undefeated Ceiling Crusher seeks her fourth consecutive win as she stretches out for the first time and heads a field of five sophomore fillies going a mile and one sixteenth in Sunday’s $150,000 Melair Stakes at Santa Anita.

Named for John Sadler’s unbeaten daughter of Debonaire Roger who defeated an outstanding group of males, including Snow Chief in her final start, the Grade II Silver Screen Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 5, 1986, the Melair is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

Off at 1-5 going 6 ½ furlongs in the statebred Evening Jewel Stakes here on April 8, Ceiling Crusher, an attentive second after the first quarter mile, surged to a sensational 15 ½ length score while earning a lofty 94 Beyer Speed Figure under Juan Hernandez, who rides back on Sunday.

By Mr. Big out of the Indian Charlie mare Palisadesprincess, Ceiling Crusher is owned by Wonderland Racing Stables, LLC, Todd Cady, Tim Kasparoff and Ty Leatherman.

Second, beaten a mere neck at odds of 21-1 in the Grade III Senorita Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf May 6, Steve Miyadi’s Tom’s Regret will be ridden back by Kyle Frey and rates a solid chance stretching out for the first time in her seventh career start.

A distant second to the top selection in the Evening Jewel, Tom’s Regret is by Tom’s Tribute and is out of the Quality Road mare Pure. With an overall mark of 6-2-3-1, she has earnings of $216,253.

With a recent race to her credit, trainer Rafael DeLeon’s Chismosa, a two-time stakes winner while unbeaten in three statebred starts at Del Mar last summer, was a very respectable sixth, beaten only 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade III Senorita.

By Clubhouse Ride out of the Cat Dreams mare You Can Dream, Chismosa is owned by her breeder Jaime Renella and will be ridden for the first time by Tiago Pereira.