Race 8 at Santa Anita | Saturday, January 4 | Post Time 6 PM Eastern Time

San Gabriel Stakes – Grade 2| Purse $200,000 | One Mile and One-Eighth on Turf | Four Year Olds and Upward

 

This race is pretty darn playable for profit even though only seven horses are entered, because two of the three horses opening at the lowest odds on the morning line are highly suspect and in my opinion DO NOT have the probability to win those odds suggest. Let’s start with Desert Stone (1), who drops in class after running in two grade one stakes, that being the reason for low odds. HOWEVER, Desert Stone only has a maiden and first level allowance win to his credit, and he finished sixth, third and second in his last three grade two races, ALL three against three year olds only, so this test against four year olds and upward is a whole new ballgame. Then there’s Majestic Eagle (6), who had a record of 1-1-1 in seven races last year and was two-for-eleven in 2018. He finished fifth, fourth, fourth and fourth in his last four grade two races and his only win in 2019 came at the graded 3 level.

The other favorite, Cleopatra’s Strike (3) is fairly legitimate although not a “win type,” evidenced by a career record of 4-9-2 in 26 races and with just one win in each of the last two years. He finished second, beaten a nose, in last year’s San Gabriel Stakes, following a win at Woodbine at the end of October and he enters this year’s race off a very good fourth of 10 finish in the Hollywood Turf Cup. In that race, run at 12 furlongs, Cleopatra’s Strike was second and a length off the lead after 10 furlongs, and he missed by a head at today’s nine furlong trip in September after an eight month layoff, so there’s little doubt he’s going to make his presence felt at the finish today.

However, Cleopatra’s Strike opens at 2/1, which is fine for exactas and such. However, a much better win bet opportunity exists with Overdue (4), who opens at 6 to 1. A lightly raced five year old, who debuted at four last February, Overdue won or placed in five of six races, all on turf and not including his debut. The best of those came the only previous time he ran this nine furlong trip, in October over the course. Overdue had added blinkers one before that in August for a then career-best effort and 107 Equibase figure, before that huge effort rallying from last of seven to win by a nose with a 113 figure. Smith rode him to both wins, then again in the Hollywood Turf Cup, a race in which his 7 to 1 odds weren’t far behind the 4 to 1 odds of Cleopatra’s Strike. In the Turf Cup, Overdue rallied from sixth to get within a half-length of the lead after nine furlongs, then found the added distance too far and faded to ninth. With Smith seeing fit to ride and that 113 figure effort from 10/5 just about on par with the 115 and 114 figure efforts put forth by Cleopatra’s Strike in his last two races, Overdue has a big shot at posting the mild upset in this race.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets: Overdue (4) to win at odds of 9 to 5 or higher.

For the record, Cleopatra’s Strike (3) has about the same minimum odds based on probability, but is likely to go to post at those odds or lower.

Exactas:

Box Overdue (4) and Cleopatra’s Strike (3).

Overdue (4) and Cleopatra’s Strike (3) over ALL.

Trifectas:

Overdue (4) and Cleopatra’s Strike (3) over ALL over Overdue (4) and Cleopatra’s Strike (3).

(This trifecta compliments the exacta because if the two contenders finish first and third instead of first and second for the exacta, we win this bet).