First race on the card is a 5-and-a-half-furlong sprint on the turf. LOFTY has been unstoppable at Santa Anita in 2020 and has already reeled off a hat-trick of course and distance victories. And it looks like trainer Michael McCarthy has found the perfect opportunity for her to make it four out of four here.
The front running filly has the speed to get across from stall eight and jockey Geovanni Franco can get favourite backers off to a flier by recording a gate-to-post victory in the opener.
A six furlong optional claimer on the dirt next, this is one of Paddy’s extra place races on the card as we are paying first three home here. And with that offer in mind a chance is taken with SHUSTER. Len Powell’s three-year-old won on his debut at this track back in October under today’s pilot, Flavien Prat. That was a dominant performance, but since then he has lost his way with disappointing runs at Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields.
He has been gelded since his last run and was due to run in a better race yesterday. Connections have instead diverted him here to face older rivals and the booking of Prat is eye-catching. Shuster is the youngest horse in the field and the one most open to improvement, he is more than capable of mixing it with these.
The one mile maiden on the turf and looks to be the most open race on the card – it is also another extra place race with the first four home paid. Bud Knight will probably go off favourite on the back of a good runner-up finish last time out.
The consistent Tropical Terror also makes appeal having been placed in his last four starts. But with the generous place terms in mind, a chance is taken with the debutant INESPERADO. James Cassidy’s three-year-old has been impressing in his morning work in preparation for his racecourse debut and is a half-brother to the speedy Piaf, who won over 5 furlongs. This is an average enough affair and the selection wouldn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary to get among the first four here.
Finally, we’ve Grade 3 action over 6 furlongs on the dirt now. This is a high-quality field lining up, as you’d expect. But, the real class act here is BELLAFINA. Simon Callaghan’s four-year-old emerged last season as one of the top sprinters of her sex and put up plenty of high-quality performances, including a superb runner-up effort in the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
She had excuses for her last run at Oaklawn Park where she broke badly and hit traffic throughout. However, that run will have put her spot on for today and with regular pilot Flavien Prat already riding plenty of winners around Santa Anita since it reopened, all the signs point to a bold bid from this classy filly.
- Horse Racing Tips: Today’s best bets at Gulfstream Park from the Racing Post
- Ruby Walsh: I took that as insulting, that’s somebody who’s cheating
- Paddy’s Club Games: Try our NO FEE poker ‘home games’ for you & your mates
* All odds correct at time of posting and are subject to change.