Horse racing normally starts to slow down after Labor Day weekend, but not in 2020. Nothing is normal about 2020. The COVID-rescheduled Preakness Stakes runs next Saturday, and the Breeders' Cup is just a little more than a month away. There are plenty'o big races for horseplayers to play.
Two more horses will earn their ways to Keeneland Racetrack on November 6th and 7th with a pair of "win and you are in" Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races at Santa Anita this Sunday.
Santa Anita Race 4 - $200,000 ZENYATTA STAKES – GRADE III
Santa Anita Race 8 – $200,000 SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP STAKES – GRADE II
The Zenyatta Stakes champ will try to make her mark in the Longines Distaff and the Santa Anita Sprint winner will try his luck in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Both the Zenyatta and Sprint Stakes races have short fields with just four running in the fourth and five in the eighth.
FIGHTING MAD (PP: 1 ML 2/5) is the oddsmaker's heavy choice to run on to Lexington, Kentucky for the Breeders' Cup. She looks like she'll be hard to beat. Jockey Luis Saez should be able to take the four-year-old to the front of the other three without much pressure. Lone speed in a short field can be a lethal combo. FIGHTING MAD will be able to dictate the pace and make it three for three at the distance.
If any of the other ladies is going to make FIGHTING MAD, fighting mad, the most likely is HARVEST MOON (PP: 3 ML 4-1). Yeah, HARD NOT TO LOVE (PP: 5 ML 3-1) has raced against stiffer competition and put better numbers on paper. But... HARD NOT TO LOVE has tried her luck against FIGHTING MAD in the last two starts, finishing no closer than 3 1/4 lengths.
HAVERST MOON has won there in a row as the chalk. She'll likely hug FIGHTING MAD all the way around the track and try to outkick the favorite to the wire; doubtful, but the best chance at an upset.
SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP STAKES
Although there are just a handful competing for their shot at the Breeders' Cup Sprint $2 million jackpot, the oddsmaker doesn't see the Santa Anita Sprint to be as lopsided as the Zenyatta Stakes. COLLUSION ILLUSION (PP: 1 ML 9/5) and C Z ROCKET (PP: 4 ML 8/5) are co-favorites. FLAGSTAFF (PP: 3 ML 5/2) isn't too far behind the top two, morning-line choices.
Frankly, any of the three can win. C Z ROCKET just got the better of FLAGSTAFF in their last, taking the wire late in a 7-furlong run. Ah, but FLAGSTAFF had the lead at 6 furlongs, like today's run around the track. Meanwhile, COLLUSION ILLUSION (PP: 1 ML 9/5) has raced three times at today's distance. Guess what, the three-year-old has won them all. In fact, he's won five of six overall. He walked off in the lone miss.
Here's how our handicapper ranked them in our Pro Subscriber's bonus commentary:
"C Z ROCKET (RADAR) has won four straight, including the highest, last race speed figure and could be better today in second start off the sidelines. COLLUSION ILLUSION has won three of three at the distance, including one at Santa Anita. FLAGSTAFF has hit the board in seven of eight SA starts. DESERT LAW or GIANT EXPECTATIONS, flip a coin."
Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.