Santa Anita Stakes Preview for February 9th

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A whopping 11-race card will be held on Saturday at Santa Anita, highlighted by three graded stakes races including the San Marcos, originally scheduled for last weekend but delayed due to rain.

The $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) goes as race 5 and drew a small field of five owing to the presence of #3 Bellafina (2-5). The one-mile race for three-year-old fillies is the second local Kentucky Oaks prep; Bellafina won the first, the Santa Ynez (G2), by 8 ½ lengths. Two of the horses she beat that day, Mother Mother (2nd) and Tomlin (3rd), are back for more in this contest. Bellafina, a dual grade 1-winner, was favored in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies but ran fourth, well behind winner Jaywalk. She rebounded in the Santa Ynez, and is one of the leading Kentucky Oaks contenders in the country.

#4 Mother Mother (7/2) is a twice grade 1-placed stakes winner, but she has lost to Bellafina in both of their meetings. #2 Enaya Alrabb (4-1) has not raced since missing by a head in the Starlet Stakes (G1) in just her third lifetime start.

The $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes (G3) goes as race 7. Run over a mile on the grass, the Thunder Road drew a field of six including 8-5 favorite #1 River Boyne (Ire), who has won four of his last six starts and is seven for fourteen lifetime. The swift four-year-old is unbeaten in six tries on Santa Anita’s turf course, and was six for nine last year. He is also three for four at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. #4 Desert Stone (Ire) (3-1) just missed by a head to River Boyne in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) last out and will be out for revenge.

The $200,000 San Marcos (G2) rounds out the stakes action as Race 9. The 1 ¼ mile turf race drew a well matched and oversized field of 13, with #3 Chicago Style (3-1) the morning line choice. He has won half of his 12 starts and missed by only a length in the San Gabriel (G2) last out January 5. #4 Epical (7-2) has won two allowance races in a row for trainer James Cassidy. #6 Sejo (Ire) makes his American debut after racing his early career in France. John Sadler has him now; the four-year-old son of Nathaniel has won his last two starts. Bob Baffert’s #7 Dabster (5-1) switches to turf for the very first time. He was third in the San Antonio (G2) on dirt last out. The horse who finished behind him that day, #8 Beach View (5-1), is also set for this.

First post is 11:30am local time.

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