Santa Anita Horse Racing Picks for January 9, 2021

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, January 9, 2021

It's the last weekend of stakes racing hibernation. Just five races across Saturday and Sunday have jackpots of $100,000 or more. We'll focus on Santa Anita Race 8 - $200,000 LA CANADA STAKES – GRADE III

Seven fillies and mares will run 1 1/16 miles on Santa Anita's main track for the La Canada Stakes. In a tiny sample size, three races meet to date, the distance and surface have favored off the pace horses leaving from chutes two and three.

If the oddsmaker is right, another winner could come from the two or three hole. FIGHTING MAD (PP: 3 ML 9/5) is the morning line favorite coming off a third-place finish as the public's choice in the Grade II, Zenyatta Stakes.

Jockey Luis Saez zipped the five-year-old mare to the front for the first half-mile before fading to third. Today, jockey Abel Cedillo returns to the irons. He rode FIGHTING MAD in her previous two starts, winning both from gate to wire. He'll try to make it three for three on FIGHTING MAD by head to the front again today.

HARD NOT TO LOVE (PP: 2 ML 2-1) gets the other choice draw. She faced off against the pre-race favorite in her last three starts, getting the best of FIGHTING MAD for the first time in her last effort. She's been on break since the September 27th start and her works since have been blah. However, she does have a strong history of running well fresh off the bench with four wins, two seconds and a sixth in her last seven first starts following a layoff.

A trifecta of horses check in at 6-1 as the tier two horses based on the morning line odds, PROUD EMMA (PP:1), MESSAGE (PP: 4) and SANENUS (PP: 5).

PROUD EMMA rides the rail, which is winless in the first three at the distance and surface. She's coming off a win in the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos with a powerful late pace figure, topping 100. It is concerning, however, that she followed her last two wins with stinkers.

MESSAGE finished second behind PROUD EMMA in her last by a ½ length and the duo dead-heated in the race prior to that for a shared trip to the winners' circle. This will be her second start following a four-mount stint on the sidelines. He recent resume suggest she'll step forward in round two and trainer Bob Baffert scores at 27% in second starts off the break.

SANENUS has two thirds and a second in her three races since heading north from Chile, where she had three wins, a second and two out of the money efforts in six runs. It looks like six to seven furlongs might be the right distance for her. She's been second by a head in her last two in the stretch before backpedaling in the final strides at 1 mile.

MISS STORMY D (PP: 6 ML 8-1) is the last horse in the field under 10-1. She's been all or nothing at Santa Anita, at the distance and on a fast track. The five-year-old daughter of TAPIZAR and MISS RELENTLESS won two of her three Santa Anita outings, one win in two at the distance and three wins in five races on a fast surface, nothing else. You'll likely know right away which side of the ledger she's going to be on. She wins when she's on/near the lead and struggles otherwise.

NEVER BE ENOUGH (PP: 7 ML 12-1) fills out this group. She hasn't raced on dirt yet with four turf starts and six on a synthetic surface. The last three were on grass and trainer Manuel Badilla hits at a strong 26% when taking his horses from turf to dirt. The six-year-old has been a deep closer of late and might have to stay a little closer to the front to cash a check.

Our friends at Guaranteed Tips Sheet were kind enough to share their subscribers' race commentary with Horse Racing Radar.

"HARD NOT TO LOVE has hit the board in nine of nine at Santa Anita. FIGHTING MAD lost as the chalk last out, trainer Bob Baffert wins at 24% with beaten favorites. PROUD EMMA won her last, trainer Peter Miller goes back-to-back Ws at 24%. MISS STORMY D should step forward in her second start off the bench."


Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.