Breaking Down the Sweet Life Stakes

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, February 14, 2021

Ever wonder what's it's like to be hamburger meat in the freezer? Probably not, but step outside for five-minutes and many will have a good idea as much of the country is experiencing an overabundance of single digit temps.

Housebound horseplayers can look on in envy when a field of 12 takes to Santa Anita's turf course for the Grade III, Sweet Life Stakes. Weather wise, the race is aptly named for those dealing with the Polar Vortex. It will be sunny and in the upper-60's when the gates open for the 6 furlong sprint.

Along with stoking feelings of envy, the Sweet Life hits the greed button as well. It's a deep field with no real favorite. Heck, the right ticket might be big enough to pay for a sunny, warm getaway. Let's see if can go a little Eddie Money here and find Two Tickets to Paradise with our take on the Sweet Life Stakes.

Meet to date, there have been 32 races at the distance and surface with speed winning approximately 60% of the starts. Most of the winners came from post two through seven with the post hitting at 6%. Meanwhile, outside horses have a tougher time overcoming the draw. The typical winners' circle visitor runs third at the quarter pole and second at the half mile marker.

Looking at the past performances of the dozen entrants, the early pace could be quick with as many as six trying to take command from the bell. If that's the case, you want to identify the horse that's likely to get out first. Many times, horses that are accustomed to being on the front get discouraged when they aren't the rabbit to chase.

FIVE PICS PLEASE (PP: 7 ML 6-1) has a strong chance to be that horse. She tried grass for the first time in her last race, which was her first start after spending five-months in the barn. She got out with some fast fractions and ran the top early and mid-race pace figures. If she does the same thing here, she'll be on the lead. As long as she can keep the opening quarter mile above 21 seconds, she'll be alright. Under 21, and she's in trouble.

All the others that try to get to the front and don't tend to suffer that discouragement and fade.

Next up, we want to identify the co-pilot types with staying power. They are the kind that run right behind the leading pack and ride patiently and watch as leery legs fade.

ROYAL ADDRESS (PP: 6 ML 4-1) has played that part in her races in Great Britain and France (once). Although info is more difficult to come by for international travelers, her notes say over and over that she tracked the leaders. There is no reason to expect something different on this side of the Atlantic. One thing of note, many European horses love the firm turf of the US compared to the cow pastures they run on over there. Her last five works have been fast, but on dirt. If she's one that prefers firmer footing, lookout.

Now we move onto the closers and there are few in here. NIMNOSTRATUS (PP: 1 ML 6-1) has done her best work when coming from off the pace. MAJESTIC STEPS (PP: 9 ML 7/2) has the best last race pace figure and tops for this field. She's coming off a win in her first US start, a $61K Maiden, that produced the highest' last race speed figure. The same race would likely end the same way, but she could be better today as many international invaders improve in round two. PLUM SEXY (PP: 11 ML 10-1) is another that put her best work in going from the back to the front. She tried the speed thing at a mile on turf and backed up like Michael Jackson moonwalking.

Let's circle back to the track biases and see how the pieces fit: close to the lead and a post between two and seven. That's ROYAL ADDRESS, she has to be a top of the ticket candidate as does FIVE PICS PLEASE. MAJESTIC STEPS has to be viewed at the primary closing threat to chase them down at the wire if the pace is too hot. PLUM SEXY, NIMBOSTRATUS and possibly PIZZAZZ (PP: 8 ML 8-1) should be well positioned and running hard for a place in the money.  

Trifecta players might consider putting ROYAL ADDRESS, FIVE PICS PLEASE and MAJESTIC STEPS in the win and place positions along with PLUM SEXY, NIMBOSTRATUS and PIZZAZZ to join them for show.

Hopefully, they hit the wire in best combination of odds and have you thinking, sun and fun, here I come.


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