$200K La Canada (G3)

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$200,000 La Canada (G3) at Santa Anita Park Race 8 (Saturday, January 11, 2020: 7:00 p.m./ET: 4:00 p.m./PT) Mile and a sixteenth on the main track (fillies and mares, four-years-old and upward)

Since its inception in 1975, trainer Bob Baffert is tied with two other trainers (D. Wayne Lukas and John Shireffs) for the most number of wins in this race (three). He’s got a pair of runners entered this year (#1 DER LU and #4 MESSAGE). Will ‘The Grey Haired Wonder’ continue his winning ways or does another trainer have the upper hand? Let’s preview the race:

#1 DER LU romped at the first level allowance condition over this track in October and then took three months off leading into her four-year-old campaign. It’s worth noting the second-place finisher in her last start came right back to win, so she beat a decent filly that day. Bob Baffert scores at a high 36% clip when freshening up his trainees before 31-60 days, and his go-to rider, Drayden Van Dyke, opts to ride this gal over #4 MESSAGE. Definitely worthy of a second look.

#2 ZUSHA was clearly second best to #3 QUEEN BEE TO YOU in the Bayakoa (G3) last month at Los Alamitos and must figure out a way to make up three-and-a-half lengths on her. Has not won since last May in a first level allowance race. Looking at others.

#3 QUEEN BEE TO YOU won the California-bred Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar in mid-November before a stalk and pounce victory in the Bayakoa (G3) in her most recent afternoon appearance. This field is a tougher group, but you have to like her good recent form.

#4 MESSAGE routed for the first time in an allowance race last month at Los Alamitos and won by nine lengths. The ground that afternoon was wet, so it will be interesting to see whether she can duplicate that race over a fast track. Mike Smith hops aboard for Van Dyke, who sides with #1 DER LU.

#5 KAYDETRE comes into this contest off a three-and-a-half-month layoff, having finished 24 lengths behind PARADISE WOODS in the Zenyatta (G2) on September 29. She sports a bullet workout leading up to this race and retains Brice Blanc, who has been aboard for both career wins.

#6 HOROLOGIST makes her first start as a four-year-old. Daughter of GEMOLOGIST won the Monmouth Oaks (G3) over the summertime when campaigned on the East Coast by trainer John Mazza. In fact, she defeated 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner JAYWALK that day. ‘Jersey Joe’ Bravo flies in to ride, who won the American Oaks (G1) race at Santa Anita for the Baltas barn on Opening Day.

#7 SPICED PERFECTION ran a one-turn mile in the Go For Wand Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on December 7 and emerged victorious after setting the pace. Now, she must prove she can be as effective going a two-turn mile-and-a-sixteenth. She has run once at this distance, finishing second in the Melair Stakes over this track in 2018. Leading rider Joel Rosario rides for trainer Peter Miller.

#8 STARR OF QUALITY was no match for #3 QUEEN BEE TO YOU in the Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar over the fall and returns to two turns in this spot. She has done her best work over this main track surface (all six of her career wins have been at The Great Race Place) and she should receive a good stalking trip. The simple question is whether she is good enough to beat this group.

SELECTIONS
1. #6 HOROLGIST – First start on the West Coast.
2. #1 DER LU - $900K purchase looking for some black type.
3. #7 SPICED PERFECTION - Two turns is a whole new ballgame.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #8 STARR OF QUALITY – One of three Cal-breds in the race.

WAGERING STRATEGY
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top pick and box all four of my selections in trifectas.

BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$26 Win: #6 HOROLOGIST
$1 Trifecta Box: #1 DER LU and #6 HOROLOGIST and #7 SPICED PERFECTION and #8 STARR OF QUALITY ($24).

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