By Tom Quigley
$150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Race 6 (Saturday, May 16, 2020: 6:00 p.m./ET; 3:00 p.m./PT) Six furlongs on the main track (California-bred or sired 3-year-olds)
Santa Anita, on hiatus since March 22nd, returns to action this weekend with a fantastic 10-race Saturday program. Highlighting the card are a pair of California-bred stakes races. The first is the Echo Eddie Stakes:
#1 STIR THE POT enters as a maiden for trainer Steve Knapp. After a 20-length loss on dirt to kick off his career, he improved significantly on grass and finished as the runner up sprinting five-and-a-half furlongs. This race is back on dirt and his breeding, by turf router BOISTEROUS, indicates he may be better on grass. Pass.
#2 ROOKIE MISTAKE switches to dirt after a turf-sprint, California-bred allowance win against older rivals. However, he is 0-for-3 on dirt. Looks like another one that may not be racing over his preferred surface.
#3 AUDACE cuts back a furlong and faces winners for the first time after a maiden special weight score in March for trainer Mike Puype. Worth noting he finished behind #4 SUMMER FIRE and #2 ROOKIE MISTAKE two races ago on the turf.
#4 SUMMER FIRE broke from the rail, then put in a strong late rush and was beaten three parts of a length by #2 ROOKIE MISTAKE on turf last time out. Big money rider Mike Smith jumps back aboard. May be a notch or two below the best signed on.
#5 CLUB ASPEN comes off a third-place finish in the Pasadena Stakes against open company in February. His best races have come going a route of ground, so this distance may a bit short, though it’s worth noting he broke his maiden on dirt sprinting at Del Mar while defeating #4 SUMMER FIRE that day.
#6 PROJECT LEADER has won two straight allowance races at Los Alamitos sprinting 1,000 and 870 yards, respectively. He faces much tougher company this time around and will need to navigate added ground. Others look more appealing.
#7 BETTOR TRIP NICK adds blinkers for Northern California trainer Bill Delia after a third-place finish in the California Derby going two turns. As a sprinter, he defeated the John Sadler trained DOC TOMMY and the Doug O’Neill conditioner FORE LEFT in the Golden Nugget Stakes last year before winning the Gold Rush Stakes. Has never finished off the board in six lifetime starts, Top contender.
#8 BIG SWEEP, a filly running against the boys, was an easy winner for trainer Mark Glatt in a maiden special weight race to kick off her racing career and earned a field high last-out 83 Beyer Speed Figure (83).
#9 PHANTOM BOSS won the Bashford Manner (G3) at Churchill Downs last year before taking two months off, returning and finishing at the back of the field in a Cal-bred sprint stake at Del Mar. He hasn’t been seen since August, so he takes a lengthy amount of time off, but returns as a possible better, faster and stronger 3-year-old. A trio of six furlong works leading up to this race indicates he should be fit off the vacation. Drayden Van Dyke rides, too, which only adds to the appeal.
1. #7 BETTOR TRIP NICK-Stakes winner is the speed of the speed
2. #9 PHANTOM BOSS-Stakes winner returns with sharp works on the page
3. #8 BIG SWEEP-Very impressive maiden winner merits respect
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #3 AUDACE-Could outrun his odds
I’ll box my top three picks in exactas and place a straight win bet on my top pick.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$20 Win: #7 BETTOR TRIP NICK $5 Exacta Box: #7 BETTOR TRIP NICK and #8 BIG SWEEP and #9 PHANTOM BOSS ($30)
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