As stated a year ago, the collection of stakes at Keeneland Race Course (stakes picks), Aqueduct Racetrack and Santa Anita Park — highlighted by Kentucky Derby preps — might be the best multi-track day of racing on the American calendar. (Obviously, bigger days exist, but most effectively have a stage unto themselves.) Here are picks for selected stakes.
AQU Race 6 | Grade III Bay Shore Stakes | 7 furlongs
3. Long Haul Bay
Comment: Theory has a class edge. Caledonian could provide value to the exacta. Long Haul Bay may look best on paper, but will try to beat coming out of a state-bred race.
AQU Race 8 | Grade III Excelsior Stakes | 1 1/4 miles
2. Send It In
4. Admiral Blue
Comment: Hereditary looks bred for the distance. Send It In can improve with a better break.
AQU Race 9 | Grade I Carter Handicap | 7 furlongs
2. Tommy Macho
3. King Kranz
4. All Star Red
Comment: Unified is a very deserving favorite in his second start of the year and with a win over the course at the distance last spring. Tommy Macho has a win over the course and at the distance two years back.
AQU Race 10 | Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes | 1 1/8 miles
1. Irish War Cry
2. Cloud Computing
3. Mo Town
4. Battalion Runner
Comment: No outcome would surprise here. If Irish War Cry’s last was a throw-out, he can prevail. But would use several for multi-race exotics.
AQU Race 11 | Grade II Gazelle Stakes | 1 1/8 miles
1. Miss Sky Warrior
2. Aspen Hilltop
4. Yorkiepoo Princess
Comment: Miss Sky Warrior is the bet of the day. Aspen Hilltop could provide value to the exotics and has just as good a shot for second as the others.
SA Race 5 | Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes | 1 mile turf
1. Lady Valeur
3. Pretty Girl
Comment: Lady Valeur is fast enough to compete with the older gals in her 4-year-old debut and offers value. Harmonize would not surprise.
SA Race 6 | Grade I Santa Anita Oaks | 1 1/16 miles
1. It Tiz Well
2. Abel Tasman
3. Majestic Quality
4. Princess Karen
Comment: Giving the edge to It Tiz Well though it’s a slight one. Multi-race tickets shouldn’t need to go deeper than the pair.
SA Race 8 | Grade I Santa Anita Derby | 1 1/8 miles
1. Term of Art
4. American Anthem
Comment: There’s a reason 13 entered; it’s wide open and all the major contenders have chinks in their armor. Term of Art would be an upset but could improve with a better trip. Any multi-race ticket will have to use several.
SA Race 9 | Grade III Providencia Stakes | 1 1/8 miles turf
1. Sircat Sally
2. Beau Recall
4. Princess Roi
Comment: The undefeated Sircat Sally looks to be a couple steps better than the others.