Spring Fever is in the Air and Running at Santa Anita

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, February 21, 2021

Spring Fever is something many northern hemisphere people are suffering from after a cold, dark and snowy winter. Santa Anita racetrack reminds us that better weather is right around the corner for those of us on the north side of the equator with the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes. I can't wait for shorts and a tee-shirt.

Let's see which filly or mare can't wait to find its way into the Spring Fever's winners' circle. Seven ladies will race 7 furlongs on Santa Anita's main track. The distance and surface favors fast senoritas with 84% of winners considered early speed with more than a third getting home wire to wire. Typically, the horse that grabs the checkered flag is in the first two at the quarter pole and has taken charge after a half-mile.

One place you don't want your picks to be is on the rail. The red 1 has failed to score in the first 38 races at today's distance on dirt. That mean's you can probably eliminate thoughts of putting CASSIE BELLE (PP: 1 ML 8-1) on the top of the ticket. Her dirt record is another reason to put her aside as she has just two seconds in four starts. Her last 10 have been on grass and trainer Sen McCarthy hasn't won this year in 16 starts switching from grass to dirt.

You might overlook HOTITUDE (PP: 2 ML 7/2) based on her last race, finishing fifth of five and way, way back. However, a little deeper dive and you see she was brushed at the start. So, there is that but even deeper and wee see she ran some of her fastest fractions for the first half-mile. It's tough to tell if the fractions or the bump were more responsible for her backing up like Michael Jackson moonwalking.

If HOTITUDE has to run against a similar pace, it will be thanks to SQUARE PEGGY (PP: 6 ML 5-1). For races back, she won a gate to wire race at Golden Gate fields going out in 21 and 4 in the first quarter, then 44 and 2 at the half and winning at 1:09 and 3. That's a fairly fast race for an $31k Allowance. That was on Golden Gate's all weather surface. SQUARE PEGGY has not been able to repeat or even rhyme that effort in her last four on dirt.

SHE'S A DIME (PP: 4 ML 6-1) is another that might try to get out in a hurry. For the first time in her last 10 starts, jockey Alexis Centeno took SHE'S DIME to the front and stayed there, scoring a 7 furlong, Santa Anita dirt win. She likes the distance and the course, hitting the board in six of at the length and three of four at Santa Anita. Again, if you examine the numbers a little more closely, SHE'S A DIME's times were a touch on the slow side. She won't get off that easy here.

The longest shot on the morning line board is DR WYSONG (PP: 3 ML 10-1). She's another Golden Gate invader and spends most of her time recently on synthetic or grass. But, you have to wonder why owner Sergio Salguer doesn't stick to dirt. Both of her two wins were on dirt and she's finished in the money four of six. Her dirt resume includes a win and place in two at Santa Anita. She's a live sleeper.

HOLLYWOOD HILLS (PP: 5 ML 4-1) is undefeated in three at the 7 furlongs. Five of her six wins came on Golden Gate synthetic. The sixth on dirt, along with a second in three fast track races. Despite that, her last three races were bad. She looks off a step and it looks like trainer Art Sherman is hoping that putting her back at 7 furlongs brings her back to life on the track. Jockey Flavien Prat rode HOLLYWOOD HILLS in her last win, 7 furlongs at Del Mar. Sherman might be onto something if Prat took the mount here, instead he's on BELLA VITA.

If BELLA VITA (ML: 2-1) is ready after nine-months in the barn, the Spring Fever Stakes will be sevens wild. Seven horses racing 7 furlongs with number seven living the good life and collecting the winners' check. She sat behind some fast fraction in her last race on May 16th, 2020, took the lead in the stretch and missed by a ½ length. It was her first race on dirt after running her first three career efforts on turf. BELLA VITA could be pounds the best here, but her workout times have been dull for trainer Simon Callaghan.

We aren't going to pick a winner for you. Instead, Horse Racing Radar will leave that to our friends at Guaranteed Tip Sheet and their subscribers' commentary, which they were kind enough to share.

"BELLA VITA should near the front all the way around the track. DR WYSONG has a win and place in two Santa Anita outings. HOTITUDE throws in some good ones and bad ones, usually has trouble in the bad races, hoping for a clean trip. SHE'S A DIME has a win, place and show in four at SA and has hit the board in six of eight at the distance."


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