On Saturday, May 23, at Santa Anita Park it’s all about the grass. Two of the turf races we handicap and make free horse racing picks for are stakes races. Race 5 runners go 5 ½ furlongs on the lawn in the Grade 3 Daytona. Then in Race 9, horses go 1 ¼ miles over the sod in the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham. Check out top plays and Horse Racing Odds from Santa Anita Park for Saturday, May 23. You can also visit our Online Racebook to place your bets on active racetracks.
Santa Anita Park Horse Racing Picks
- When: Saturday, May 23 at 3:30 pm ET
- Where: Arcadia, CA
- Weather: Mostly Sunny
- Temperature: High 86 – Low 61
Santa Anita Park Picks for Saturday, May 23
Race 3 – 4:30 pm ET – 1 Mile Turf – $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming
Craig Lewis trained runner Margot’s Boy parlayed a maiden score into a win at the state-bred optional claiming level in the gelding’s first against winners. Margot takes a step up in class. But this runner obviously figured some things out. Margot Boy can sit right off or take the lead from the outset.
There’s a reason Liar Liar is the 9/5 morning line chalk. The Richard Baltas sired 3-year-old colt finished second at a race at this level in its last. Liar Liar should get a nice trip breaking from post-position 1.
At 12/1, Best Chance is the overlay. The John Sadler trained runner heads into this off a maiden score. Sadler wins 16% with runners going into a race off a maiden win. Victor Espinoza rides. That’s enough of a reason to make this one part of all our exotic plays.
- Win: Margot’s Boy
- Place: Liar Liar
- Show: Best Chance
Race 5 – 5:30 pm ET – 5 ½ Furlongs Turf – $100,000 Grade 3 Daytona Stakes
The Daytona Stakes sets up for the Doug O’Neil trained Stubbins. Back in October, the 4-year-old colt won the Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland. O’Neil then ran Stubbins in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The Morning Line sired runner raced well enough to grab fourth place. We like Stubbins’ chance to score a victory while closing from off the pace.
Cistron figures to lie 1 ½ to 2 lengths off the front runners. The 5/2 morning line choice won’t be far off the pace. Victor Espinoza is a master at pushing the button at the right time. Cistron has a big shot to hold off Stubbins for the win. Consider pairing the top two choices in an exacta box.
The other O’Neil runner, Murad Khan, could fill out the trifecta. At a 10/1 morning line, Khan represents the overlay play to win this. We’re using in the trifecta for sure. If you think Khan has a shot to get its picture taken, don’t expect us to talk you off the 7-year-old gelding.
- Win: Stubbins
- Place: Cistron
- Show: Murad Khan
Race 9 – 7:00 pm ET – 1 ¼ Miles Turf – $200,000 Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes
Saturday could finally be the date Rockemperor lives up to the billing. Last June, the Chad Brown trained son of Holy Roman finished second in the Grade 1 Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly in France. Since then, the 4-year-old colt hasn’t come close to repeating the performance. But Saturday could be the moment the Brown trainee finally gets it done.
6/5 on the morning line United towers over every other horse in this field except for Rockemperor. The Richard Mandella trained runner won the Grade 2 San Marcos in his last. He finished second in both the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup and the Grade 1 BC Turf before the San Marcos run. United is an obvious player.
Desert Stone could add value to the trifecta. The 8/1 morning line runner can’t hold a candle to Rockemperor or United. But Stone can beat Multiplier and Originaire for the show money.
- Win: Rockemperor
- Place: United
- Show: Desert Stone