Looking for Some Luck in the Irish O'Brien

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

Santa Anita celebrates Wednesday's St Patrick's Day with the $100,000 Irish O'Brien on Sunday. It's 6 furlongs on grass and restricted to fillies and mares bred or sired in the Golden State. Let's see if a little luck of the Irish can run off on us and find a winner.

The distance and surface slightly favor speed with the typical winner third at the quarter pole and second at the half-mile marker. That put the horse mid-pace early with an average field size of seven. Today, there are eight ladies.  Horses that draw in between posts tend to do better than the edges, the rail and outside post.

BELLA VITA (PP: 2 ML 3-1) is the filly that is probably the best bias fit. The four-year-old is coming off a win the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes where she was fourth at the quarter and took over from there. In taking the Spring Fever Trophy, she posted the top, last race speed figure and could show more in her second start following nine months in the barn.

She'll likely be third today after the quarter as BELLA VITA will be chasing morning line favorite LEGGS GALORE (PP: 8 ML 2-1) and SADIE BLUEGRASS (PP: 4 ML 4-1). The favorite has two wins in two races at Santa Anita and is on a four-race win streak since moving turf after trying dirt in her first two starts. LEGGS GALORE likes to get to the front and stay they. That's where we expect jockey Ricardo Gonzalez to be today.

SADIE BLUEGRASS and jockey Brayan Pena will make Gonzalez and LEGGS GALORE work for the lead as the filly has been first or second at the first call in eight of her last 10 starts. Mostly on Golden Gate's synthetic track. Her speed has translated to turf as she battled for the front in both of her turf efforts.

Handicapping tip: Running styles and form tend to translate better from synthetic to turf and vice versa than from synthetic to dirt and vice versa. It's something jockey Kyle Frey pointed out to The Players' Edge Podcast and something we've noticed in analyzing 1000s of races.

SAPPHIRE KID (PP: 7 ML 3-1) and CASSIE BELLE (PP: 3 ML 12-1) will most likely take up position behind bias fitting BELLA VITA, for fourth and fifth after the first quarter mile. SAPPHIRE KID will try to make it three wins in a row in the third start after 11 months on the sidelines. Her two wins since returning to the track we at today's track/distance/surface. SAPPHIRE KID will need to turn it back to the first start off the bench when she posted a time of 1:08 and 3 to find the winners' circle again. He last start was 2 seconds slower, that won't cut it against these.

CASSIE BELLE could be the live longshot. She should be well positioned and has hit the board in six of eight at Santa Anita. She has found the money in just three of eight elsewhere without a winning score. She's got some good late kick and has a chance if she's close coming out of the turn.

So, who is going to win? Our friends at Guaranteed Tip Sheet were kind enough to share their Pro Subscribers Commentary with us.

"SADIE BLUEGRASS has finished in the money 10 of 11, lone miss was debut. LEGGS GALORE is two for two at Santa Anita and four for four on grass. BELLA VITA ran the top, last race speed figure. NARDINI should be the fastest of the late arrivals."

May the luck of the Irish be with you in the Irish O'Brien.


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